When your account’s been nominated by Instagram as one of the most “follow-worthy” accounts twice over, you’re definitely doing something right. With around 370,000 followers, photographer Costas Spathis lets his work take us on a journey around the world, giving us an aerial, playful and yet highly focused perspective. Using new drone technology, he briefly becomes a pilot and helps us understand what the clouds see.
His ambitious motto on his profile may be “The Sky Is Not the Limit,” but surely the sky is the beginning. “Interested in the world from above,” Spathis explains, “like to transform each scene with a modern freshness that brings out the dynamism of each place and builds moments between nature and humanity. My goal is for my compositions to impart a positive feeling that challenges the viewer to engage their imagination and understand how beautiful, diverse and colourful our lives can look like from above.”
A typical day in his life is full of locations and images. Indonesia, the Philippines, Dubai, Florida, Hong Kong, Italy, Budapest and the Cyclades are just a few of the places he has captured with his lens. The places may change, but Spathis’ photographic approach remains distinctly his.
Influenced by his studies in architecture, the artist is clearly fascinated by linearity and symmetry. His need for photographic balance was strong even when he was experimenting with a film camera as a young boy, trying to place his subject exactly in the center. “All my work is inspired by geometry, symmetry, repeatability and minimal aesthetics. Odd perspectives, patterns, rectilinear objects, wide-angle subjects and vanishing points are some of the subjects that captivate me when I capture urban or natural landscapes. They evoke a feeling of purity and often form a pattern,” he says.
His main sources of inspiration, he says, are the sea and the element of water. Perhaps in an attempt to capture summer’s true essence, the photographer quite often photographs life jackets, boats and synchronized swimmers in geometric formations on a fluid blue canvas.
“The unforgettable blue of my country is what makes me proud to be a Greek. I want to share it through my photographs. Many repeating elements in the clear blue sea create interesting patterns. The combination of these elements with the bright light of our country, especially during the summer season, instills a feeling of euphoria in the viewer.” And, as if all this wasn’t enough to make him stand out, in his pictures one can also find sailboats in coffee mugs and people on bicycles seemingly struggling with gravity.
As an avid fan of new technologies, Spathis is constantly exploring and developing new techniques and new ways of creating and editing photographs. He has stated that his favorite artist is Salvador Dali, and surrealist elements are certainly not missing from his work. Even those landscape photographs that are clearly part of the real world and do not defy the laws of nature still have an eerie quality to them.
Thanks to the aerial perspective, combined with symmetry and with a human element appearing most of the time only as an indication of scale, his photographs look like stills from some science fiction film, a world that’s familiar and yet alien at the same time. “I like to filter the world and capture it from my own perspective. That way, reality becomes a vast game of illusion.” I ask the photographer which place he thinks is the most photogenic. “Every destination has its own beauty, as long as you find the right angle to bring it out,” Spathis replies.
This article was previously published in K magazine at kathimerini.gr.