Interview with Margarita Mavromichalis
BIFA 2021 Winner, 1st Place, Non-Professional Fine Art category, “As Time Stood Still”
Q: Tell us a bit about your background? How did you discover your love for photography?
I have photographed since I was a teenager. At that time, I had created a dark room at home and was spending many hours having fun. Then life got in the way of allowing me to pursue photography professionally but it remained a passion until I moved to New York in 2009 for a few years. There I decided it was time to rekindle my love for photography and I registered at the International Center of Photography. It was probably the best decision I ever made. I have been a full time photographer since.
Q: What was your last work and how did the initial spark of inspiration come about?
My last work was created during the numerous Covid-19 lockdowns in London and Athens. I had an urge to create work and became my own muse.
Q: You were awarded Non-Professional Fine Art Photographer of the Year 2021 for your piercingly honest work, As Time Stood Still. Can you tell us more about this project and how it came to be? Why did you choose this particular subject?
I usually create work photographing fellow human beings either going about their daily lives or in their natural environment. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, I had to self isolate for months so I decided to turn the camera onto myself to remain creative. I wanted to explore my emotions, my fears and hopes through my camera. It soon became a therapeutic project that gave me a purpose during those long months of lockdown and isolation.
Q: Is Fine Art photography your main genre, or do you enjoy creating in other genres as well?
I like to call myself a photographer and not confine myself to a specific genre of photography. I love Fine Art, Street Photography, Portraiture, Documentary and so much more and I want to be able to create and challenge myself in all the genres. Nowadays we tend to put a label on everything, create categories and subcategories, and one has to identify with one specific genre. I don’t agree and don’t want to necessarily abide to that “rule”. Maybe I am not doing myself a favor by not focusing on one genre but on the other hand I like the freedom it gives me.
Q: What does winning this award mean to you?
Winning this award means the world to me. As every artist, I want my work to be seen and appreciated. Submitting work to competitions allows me to edit my own work, become selective in what I show and open myself to criticism. The process alone is invaluable and helps me to grow as an artist. Winning, is a dream come true. It validates all my efforts and gives me motivation to continue the work that I am doing.
Q: What would be your dream project in photography if there would be no budget limits and you could travel anywhere, photograph anything/anyone?
I love interacting with people when I photograph and I love giving back to the people who share their time with me and open their world to my camera. I documented the refugee crisis as it developed on the island of Lesvos, Greece, during the peak year of 2015, and I was surprised at how much all these people, who risked their lives to find a safer haven, wanted to get their stories heard. If I could work on one specific project without a budget restriction, that would be it.
Q: What is the one piece of advice that you received in the past about photography that you follow to this day?
The most valuable piece of advice that I received was to follow my heart. And this is exactly what I have done and intend to do for the rest of my days.
Q: Are you working on something new right now? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
As travel is still restricted worldwide, I continue to work on self-portraiture and expand the body of work “As Time Stood Still”. It has become a significant entity and I think that the thematic goes beyond Covid and the lockdown experience. I hope and think that every person who looks at these images can identify with some of them during any given time of their life. Furthermore, Covid has given me the time to slow down and go through all the work I have created until today and start playing with the idea of publishing a book. That is another dream that I hope will become true in the near future.