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Browsing my timeline on Tumblr lately, I’ve noticed John Mitropoulos photography spins around the screens of boys and girls through their (re) micro-blogs.
Try to set his name as an image Google search term with safe filter off. Your browser will get a wonderful mosaic wallpaper with elegant figures and a color contrast of retro glossy fashion magazines, reinvented.
John Mitropoulos is not only a photographer anymore. Although his work has been very successful in the Greek media, his creations as a director of music videos get more and more appealing to the public and the local pop stars. The latter know very well how John is a style amplifier and that he can prettify both them and their work.
I have to mention that he could be a professional model as well, but he’s not and he doesn’t act like one.
We had a drink near Parthenon in Athens, Greece where he currently lives.
Name, age, family status, profession, horoscope sign, nationality. What defines you most and what order of importance would you set?
Name and Profession defines me for sure. If I had to put them in a row it would come as: Name, Profession, nationality, age, horoscope sign, family status.
Your photographs have very powerful forms and colors, just like comics, but in a more glossy approach. What I want to say is that the way you capture your models is very sexy to me.
Sexy is the way I see things in general, not just the models. For example, I kinda think of a lake in the middle of a forest as sexy because this makes me fantasize scenes… To me sexy is everything that sparks a chain reaction in my brain.
Some famous photographers, fuck with their models, do you?
No, I never had a sexual contact with a model I have worked with. I’m referring to professional ones. I have and had such relations with people that took part in pictures I’ve taken, but these were my partners or lovers, not professional models. I’m saying this because one might consider anyone who poses for a picture a model . They are too perfect to stimulate me sexually. Knowing that someone is a model makes me lose my sexual interest.
What turns you on sexually?
Renaissance paintings. As a boy, I was browsing pictures with nudes in the encyclopedia and I was fantasizing with classical statues. But when it comes to reality I get turned on by signs of imperfection. The images I create are not realistic, sometimes they seem to be, but they’re not. They’re just projections of what I have in my mind as perfect, but they’re way beyond reality and as you can see, perfection rules this world. A model is a part of it so it must be perfect as well.
Are you considered to be sexually old-fashioned and conservative?
It depends. I’m not sure if I’m old-fashioned but I like some stereotypes. I like to have a clear perception of the sexes - a man to look like a man and a woman to look like a woman no mater of their sexuality. To me the term “unisex” sounds like a nightmare and I think -thankfully- it’s not modern any more.
Lets time-travel to your favorite era, when is that?
I’d like to be in the Golden Age of Pericles (editors note: 5th century BC in Athens). Now I’m thinking, there is a negative side on that. I might die of headache because there would be no paracetamol pills yet.
I guess you’d fancy naked people around you.
I wish everybody would walk outside nude! I’d like to see most of the people naked, not everyone of course. I’ve noticed that if you observe every human a little, you’ll find something sexual on them despite their looks.
Interesting picture, but what inspires you most in that age?
During the Golden Age great things took part which defined and keep on defining life so far. The prosperity of that time helped those minds to conceive ideas such as democracy, developing of sciences and flourishing of arts. Just think that sculptors’ main intention was to praise the beauty. I can’t think of anything more civilized than that! They didn’t spend their energy on anything miserable, like a war let’s say. And besides that, there was no impunity then like there is in our times.
Lately Greece is very different from what you describe, isn’t it?
There are some monuments from that era, still preserved in Greece, beside that there’s no other similarity. People nowadays have been alienated from the ideals of that age and they have nothing in common with their ancestors. Greece has become miserable. Violence is in the foreground and this is what I call medieval. I can’t accept any form of violence. I can only watch violence in movies, where I know it’s artificial.
Yes, how could this be bearable? I see our times so contaminated by this behavior that I would never think to bring a child into this world. Bringing a child in this world is criminal, I would feel sorry for my choice if I did that.
Your current occupation is directing music videos for Greek pop stars. Do you prefer directing than photographing?
My aim had always been direction of moving pictures. I was imagining static pictures to start moving and developing an action. I strongly admire Hollywood movies, but compared to it cinema in my country is in a primitive state, so I began here working with photography, something that will always fascinate me. It’s much easier to create a spectacular still image. Eventually I was given the opportunity to start making short films through music videos.
Let’s assume you’ve got all the ideal circumstances to make a film, would you make one and with what kind of plot?
Yes, I’d make a film, that’s been always my goal. As for its kind, I like thrillers, horror and science fiction movies. Yes, I like these categories, but you never know the way a romantic scenario can inspire one director. Sounds funny I say that, but life is full of surprises!
Poseidon! I can’t think of anyone more impressive than him. It’s all about the images that come up when I think of him. He’s the god of sea and sea is the element of nature I love deeply.
Which celebrity would you photograph as Poseidon?
Do the same for a Greek goddess.
I’d say Athena because she was born from Zeus head and this is a very creative conception that blows my mind. I can’t get over this myth, because I feel this kind of birth from inside my head when I have inspiration. Uma Therman is the right Athena to me.