Charalampos Kydonakis aka "dirty harrry"
Over the past few years I have been following the moniker “dirty harrry” on Flickr, and have always been curious about just who this person was. That’s why I was thrilled when we got an email from Charalampos Kydonakis aka “dirty harrry” sharing his work with us. Check out the interview below and start following this photo machine immediately.

Empty Stretch: What’s your current location & favorite place to photograph?

Charalampos Kydonakis: I’m living in Rethymnon, Crete. I don’t know if it’s my favourite place to photograph, but my favourite photos have been shot here

Charalampos Kydonakis aka "dirty harrry"
ES: Your aesthetic crosses many styles, what is your background with photography and is there a certain subject matter you prefer shooting?

CK: I started photographing when I was a student of architecture, so the first ten years I was shooting only architectural stuff. After I saw some masters’ work I focused more on people. Now I don’t have a certain preference, every subject seems challenging to me.

Charalampos Kydonakis aka "dirty harrry"
ES: Your photographs seem to allude to a painterly style, is this an influence to your work? What are some of your biggest photography and non-photography influences?

CK: There were many lessons of history of architecture and history of art in my university faculty. All these lessons helped me to understand something about how a thought can be expressed and formed visually in 2 or 3 dimensions. I don’t know if history of architecture and art has influenced my photos , I guess not, maybe subconsciously, but not by intention. I started to view photos of great photographers about 6 years before, when I started to photograph people. Some genius minds that I pray under their visions are:

  • Directors: Sam Peckinpah, Akira Kurosawa, Luis Buñuel.
  • Writers: Nikos Kazantzakis
  • Painting: El Greco, Francisco de Goya, Max Ernst , Paul Klee.
  • Architecture: Frank Lloyd Wright, Vladimir Tatlin.
  • Music: Ástor Piazzolla, Ennio Morricone, Vicente Amigo, Stelios Foustalieris.

I ‘m inspired a lot by my people, other times by strangers, unimportant things, and other times, I’ve just drunk much and I shoot whatever is in front of me.

ES: What is the source of dirty harrry?

CK: harrry : a shortcut of my first name (Charalampos) in greek. dirty : my photos. My nickname doesn’t refer to the Callahan cop, I prefer Clint Eastwood in his western films rather than the Cop role, I don’t like cops.

Charalampos Kydonakis aka "dirty harrry"

ES: You group your images with interesting titles, what is your process for sequencing, are they shot at the same time or do you group them later?

CK: Initially, some years before, I didn’t have any project in mind, I just  took the camera and went out to shoot. After some years, I started to gather photos from specific subjects, I realized I had to somehow to group my photos so that I could see what it was that I was trying to shoot, and then focus on it. Still after all this grouping I don’t know what I’m shooting exactly. The projects change, a lot of old stuff is deleted and new photos get in the existing sets; sets get deleted and new ones emerge. Sequencing is a never-ending process.

Charalampos Kydonakis aka "dirty harrry"
ES: How many projects do you have going on in your head at one time?

CK: Most times I’m confused and there are many thoughts spinning around my head. I have in the background of my mind these existing projects and there are times I see things that could fit somewhere. Other times, I go out trying to shoot something specific to develop an idea. Many times though I simply have an enormous vacuum in my mind and shoot without thinking.

ES: What is photography for you on a daily basis?

CK: Probably two things:

  • Shooting my own stuff and editing them some weeks afterwards.
  • Looking at other people’s work and editing my blog with work that I find inspiring.

ES: If could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

CK: I wouldn’t like to have to dinner, cause we would eat and we wouldn’t talk much. But I’d like to get drunk one night with Nikos Kazantzakis or Sam Peckinpah or any of the people I love and are away from me.

Please check out more of Kydonakis’ work on his website and flickr.