George Konstantinos Malekakis, captures images of Athens, his beloved Athens, as he sees it. In it’s simple, true, everyday state. Malekakis, with years of experience in professional fashion and advertising photography, remains outside of the established “system” and is about to present a show at the Skoufa Gallery, which forms a part of his wider “I Love Athens Project”. His aim is to establish a new point of view for artistic imagery.
If you could give us your motive for trying to capture images of a Ath- ens within a sentence, what would that sentence be?
Perhaps that “I take it as a given that not accepting your own city as a place of inspiration and expression is a form of aesthetic impotence”
What would you change in Athens? Where would you start from, when it comes to the city’s aesthetic identity?
Advertising, cinema, fashion, magazines have all had their hand in creating aesthetically acceptable stereotypes for cities, something that hasn’t happened here. That is what we want to achieve, through the promotion of a fresh image to a targeted audience. By using social media platforms (blog, facebook, twitter, flickr, instagram), by setting up seminars for professional and amateur photographers alike and of course through exhibiting the results of this entire effort in Athens and in metropolitan centers around the globe.
A city’s profile is formed by the image it projects, creating acceptance, familiarity and by making its spaces and potential openly available. What does the “I love Athens Project” hope to achieve? Do you think it will be widely accepted?
It’s an idea for the creation of an objective image for the city of Athens, so as to properly project its aesthetics, cut loose from social, political and cultural stereotypes. We want to promote a new point of view, a “clean” point of view. The project wants to provide the conditions through which an aesthetic backdrop can be provided, through which the imagination can be spurred. For the tourist, the photographer, the reporter, the journalist, the artists, the film maker or advertiser. We want the city to become aesthetically accepted, just like it deserves.
We’re working with professionals in the fields of image production, communication and education, so we feel that we can achieve our goal of promoting Athens and creating the backdrop for cultural, financial, social and political gains.
Where does the “Athina” exhibition fit in with the project?
It’s basically the springboard of the entire project, as we’re using it to find other individuals that come from different artistic backgrounds, in order to highlight the fact that Athens can be a city of inspiration.
What impressed you the most while you were photographing?
The fact that our city is still beautiful. It can still stimulate you. When trying to capture images, one needs to be able to take the time and notice what’s going on around him. Within that time frame, I noticed myself. I’d say that Athens is exactly what you see, exactly as you understand it.