The English photographer John Stoddart exhibits his famous portraits in Athens and explains why he chose to live in Greece.

I see photos from John Stoddart 's exhibition in Athens and the description "photographer to the stars", which accompanies him, is fully justified. I think about what he's lived through capturing everything from the British royal family to Hollywood stars, and I ask him if he remembers any particular incident.

"While I was photographing the Rolling Stones , Keith Richards got very drunk, fell and hit his head," he recalls. "Then Mick Jagger turned around and said, 'This is our way of telling you that the shoot is over, John.'

The photos he presents at iD ProjectArt , in Kolonaki, were chosen by himself together with Adrienne Crow. "We both wanted to highlight the pre-digital world of portrait photography ," says John Stoddart. "The very superior aesthetic values ​​of film."

On his prints you can still see the insignia from the era when there were negatives. "Digital technology makes most 'photos' look the same," he notes. “Look at the magazines, is there anything that stands out? I really miss film, the beauty of analog cameras. Film is something magical."

 

John Stoddart and Greece

Since 2019, John Stoddart has chosen Greece as his base. "I wanted a change in my life," he says when I ask him how it came about. "I was a photographer in London for 40 years. I fell in love with Skopelos and then Athens .' What stands out about each of these places? "Skopelos is beautiful, a little forgotten in time, green, like a hidden place," he answers. "Athens is like New York in the early 90s. I am and will always be a child of the city."

Greek is also the inspiration behind the title of the exhibition, "Come Close" , which refers to a poem by Sappho . "She has fascinated me for years," he says of the Greek poet, who lived in the 6th BC. century. “Most of her work has been lost, but what remains is very moving. It's like it was written just yesterday."

 

From the army in the photo

Born in Liverpool in 1959, John Stoddart was a soldier when he started photography. "I was very young and I was serving in Hong Kong," he has said. "That was good because in the Far East you could buy Japanese cameras much cheaper than in Europe."

In the late 70s he relocated to Northern Ireland and learned to display his own shots. What started as a hobby gradually became a job. He made his first money photographing bands from his hometown and ended up working for major magazines as well as record companies.

All this may be in the past, but photography continues to dominate John Stoddart's present. "I still love her, I'm preparing exhibitions and other projects, I don't stop," he tells me.

His view on what it takes to get a good portrait when you have someone more or less famous in front of your lens is simple: "Preparation, trust and take risks , be bold!"

In lieu of an epilogue to our interview, I ask him to tell me if there's a question that no one has ever asked him but he's been dying to answer. " Can a photo tell the future? ” he says rather sibylically, hastening to solve the question: “Yes, it can, I've seen it happen!”

The exhibition "Come Close", by John Stoddart, will run from July 13 to August 22, 2022. iD ProjectArt : Kanari 12, Kolonaki, 10674, tel. +30 2103221801.

 

August 18, 2022 — Dyana Carvajal

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