John Kosmopoulos is a Multiple International Award-Winning Photographer from Toronto, Canada who embodies a new school and philosophy of photography known as “Eclectic Aesthetic Fine Art” (EAFA).  He has been practicing photography with abandon for the last five years and, like his namesake, is a true cosmopolitan who enjoys traveling with his camera as a compass. He specializes in multiple subjects in black and white fine art photography, infrared long exposure photography, blended exposure photography and a form of colour photography he refers to as “Muted Colour Metallics” (MCM).  His acclaimed images have been published extensively in international interviews and magazines, including Digital Photographer Magazine, and his art has been featured in shows and galleries all over the world including his home city, Vancouver, Athens, Dubai and Paris at the Louvre Museum.

John is also a Consultant and Professor in the Behaviour Sciences and an avid writer who has produced some thought-provoking principles and ways of conceiving fine art as an evolving discipline that is intimately intertwined with an artist’s personal psychology known as “Vision Drawing” (Oramagraphy).  He teaches workshops all over the world and always strives to capture a felt aesthetic, the feeling of being immersed in something intellectually and imaginatively beautiful, with his art while inviting viewers on a journey into a parallel world where reality is both essential and negotiable in fine art photography.

Mr. Kosmopoulos, I wish my message finds well both in body and soul.

I dare go into the process of this interview, though times are very difficult all over the world because I wanted to present your photo project in Paris that looks like it is from another planet. Before we go into the project, tell us about your Greek ancestry and how you arrived in Canada, where you are also a resident.

Dora, thank you for the honour of this interview with iFocus Greece. 

We are indeed in very unfortunate times with this pandemic but we will prevail over this “invisible enemy”.  It is nice to see my beloved Greece taking the necessary steps during this global challenge. We are fine and I hope the same for you and your family.

On a much lighter note, my Hellenic heritage is an immense source of pride for me but I consider myself a citizen of the world.  There is no better time to (be) one. My ancestral roots are in the Peloponnese region and my current residence is in Canada.  I try to visit Greece as often as I can to see relatives but to also take on some photography projects.

When did your desire to become a photographer arise?

The pursuit of creative expression has been in my blood since I can remember. I come from a very artistic family.  Ever since I was a child, I would draw and paint.  My desire for photography began when I was also young but really became an interest in my teenage years after reading some books and buying a camera from a vintage store. It was only later on that I truly understood the power of a camera in my hand to tell my stories, to explore my own psychology and to use it as a compass for my artistic imperatives.  

Paris Afternoon Delights John Kosmopoulos iFocus

Tell us who are considered great photographers and why.

Like most photographers, I have gone in phases as to who or what interests me.  It is not so much a certain photographer by name or recognition that defines quality photography for me, it is whether their art exalts my senses and leaves an indelible impression on me. In many ways, great photographers, much like our own Greek history, bring immeasurable and impactful ideas to the world. I often likened great photographers to be neuroscientists, art historians and futurists at the same time. They are also masterful sculptors of perception, drawers of light and forms and poets that use the language of mathematics and physics. Above all, they understand that photography is not just a visual medium but also a multi-sensory experience.

 What would you say to a young kid who wants to pursue this profession. What elements does it have to have a character to be able to succeed and stand out?

Beyond learning the skills, become an outlier and be resilient. You do not have to compete against anyone and when everyone is going one direction, find a different path.  When others ask “Why”, ask “Why not”.  We are often told to trust our intuition but we should also embrace our counterintuition as many of the world’s innovations have happened by trying something new and experimental.  Not everyone is going to like what you do and you may not get the accolades you desire, but my experience has been that your drive to create something self-inspirational often catches up to the desire to witness your creations by others.  But above all, have fun with it all!     

Do you do workshops beyond your photo projects? Do you want to refer to them?

I love being an author and educator in photography. I conduct photography workshops throughout the world. There was a workshop planned for Japan this year but that got postponed because of the pandemic. Your readers can find more information on my website (www.silverzenphotography.com) and Instagram (@johnkosmopoulos) if they are interested in future workshops and limited edition prints.

Greece Meteora Pilgrimage Infrachroma John Kosmopoulos iFocus

Tell us about the photo project in Paris, what caused it and what difficulties did you face?

My “Earth-Mars” series is what I call an “Infrachroma” project. This otherwordly series is also about sensory experiences and the symbolism of colour that impacts the world of imagination in surreal and wonderful ways.  It is a means of seeing what is “beneath” our everyday experiences and making them much more profound. I have experimented with infrared photography and have always liked the look and feel of Aerochrome film but I felt that the results were sometimes too stark or limiting rather than soft or pleasing in appearance.  I tend to composite and edit my images so that I may feel the magic of moments and try to fulfill my conceptual ideals.  

This series began quite a bit before my Paris and Versailles photos but I only felt that I could promote this project once I sensed its impact first on me and then on others. The response has been wonderful.  I get requests from other magazines and art platforms because of it. As an exclusive for your readers, I have also provided photos of my project from Greece.

A new school or philosophy of photography known as “eclectic aesthetic fine art” (EAFA). Can you please let us know more about this new philosophy of photography?

I have never believed that you had to focus on one type or genre of photography, perfect it, make it your own in some way and then claim it as such. I tend to see the opposite perspective of creating your own personal signature as a photograph(er) across genres much like a generalist or “eclecticist” who has specialties in multiple areas.

Greece Erechtheion Acropolis Greece John Kosmopoulos iFocus

What is your favorite place in Greece?

I love to explore the footsteps and foothills of Greece’s history. It is difficult to choose a favorite place. However, I will answer your question with a quote by Nikos Kazantzakis: “Beauty is merciless. You do not look at it, it looks at you and does not forgive”.  That is what Greece does to me.

What message do you send our readers about photography?

Find a “finer art” photography rather than a formulaic “fine art” photography. 

What does photography mean to you?

 

It means “Peace”  Ηρεμία

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