All posts by dimitrios

My first SLR camera

When I think of my past in photography I can’t ever remember feeling such a sense of  satisfaction as I felt when I bought  my first SLR camera. It was a Zenit 12XP. The Zenit 12 was first released in 1983 and the XP model was intended for export and so it was named XP from the word export.

I bought my XP in 1987, in Athens, from a Russian immigrant paying a 1/3 of my salary at the time. I had been thinking about getting a SLR camera for years, but my economical situation didn’t permit me to. From 1984 to 1986 I served my military duty in the Greek army, so it was impossible for me to buy any such equipment. When I was finally dismissed from the army,  and started working more consistently I bought a Honda 50cc moped and then a guitar with my first savings. The camera was my third serious investment.

This camera became my faithful companion for four years and we studied photography together on the road before I seriously took up photographic studies at the Focus School of Photography. I betrayed her in 1991 and dumped her for a Nikon FM2 and locked her away in a closet to be forgotten.

Dimitrios Asithianakis is a photographer and photography teacher. You can find him on Facebook Dimitrios Asithianakis.

Mykonos Island Greece

mykonos island greece

Mykonos was an insignificant island in the Cyclades until it was discovered by travelers in the late 19th century as it was necessary for them to pass by en-route to the nearby and uninhabited Delos. Several decades passed and by the 1960s Mykonos had become the Mecca of the international jet set and even in more conservative times it had been a gay-friendly island.

mykonos island greece

Despite the development of tourism that Mykonos has seen in recent years, it still remains a stunningly beautiful island of the Cyclades. Sometimes, it can become a little intolerable because in fact there are a lot of people on the island especially during the summer, but there are always opportunities to explore Mykonos at a more relaxed pace besides high season.

mykonos island greece

What make’s Mykonos stand out is its unique atmosphere and the light that brings out the best colours of the Aegean, the colors of the sky and the sea, the dry Cycladic stones and the white-washed walls with their colorful window shutters.

mykonos island greece

The mother of all modern DSLR cameras

The idea of ​​an SLR camera with a pentaprism finder that gives a proper viewfinder image existed before World War II, thus the first SLR cameras were created. During the war we can’t talk about the development of cameras, except maybe that of different systems that were used for military purposes. Immediately after the war when photographic companies became active again, the first SLR cameras started to be produced.

Historians disagree among themselves about which camera with a pentaprism finder was actually first released onto the market; therefore I will present to you the first 2 cameras that are considered to be the mothers of all modern cameras. These 2 cameras were presented to the public in 1949.

Alpa Prisma Reflex

Alpa Prisma Reflex

Alpa was the brand name which was manufactured by a camera design company from Switzerland that made parts for Swiss watches, the Pignons SA. In 1949, Pignon introduced its first 35mm SLR camera sporting a pentaprism finder, the Alpa Prisma Reflex.

Contax S

contax s

Contax S was another 35mm SLR camera with a pentaprism finder that was also firstly introduced in 1949 by VEB Zeiss Ikon this time by a company in East Germany.

However observing their shape it is clear to be seen that the Contax S was the camera that was the stantard in terms of design of all the future SLR cameras though even the more sophisticated like the current DSLR ones.

Since this post is about the Mother of all modern cameras, I want to show you a model that was the first camera SLR with pentaprism from Japan; this showed the world that Japanese companies besides copying European prototypes could design originals that could be regarded as archetypal of technological evolution. Please admire the Asahi Pentax of 1957 a wonderful camera and an excellent example of a combination of simple design and flawless functionality.

Asahi Pentax

asahi pentax

The Theatre of Dionysus at the Acropolis

theatre of dionysus photos

On the south side of the Acropolis is located the remains of the ancient Theatre of Dionysus. In this area there was the sanctuary of Dionysus whose worshipers came from Eleutherae of Boeotia and for this reason he was called Dionysus Eleuthereus and was celebrated every year during the month of Elafivoliona in late March to early April, the Great Dionysia festivities were held in glorious celebration in honour of the god and was one of the most important festivals of ancient Athens. On this side of the Acropolis was created The Ancient Greek Theatre as a place of significance and all of the plays that were written during ancient times were to be shown firstly at the Theatre of Dionysus.

theatre of dionysus photos

In the first years of its operation there were wooden stands in the Theatre of Dionysus. During the period of the archon Lycurgus, the Theatre was expanded using stone. It is estimated that at that time The Theatre of Dionysus could hold an audience capacity of more than 15,000 people. In the first series of rows there were 67 marble seats for the officials. This was the custom of Proedria (presidency) and each seat was inscribed with the name of the person for whom it was intended.

theatre of dionysus photos

Over the subsequent centuries, the theatre was destroyed. For several years ​​works of excavation, maintenance and restoration of the Theatre of Dionysus using materials similar to those used in ancient times has been in progress and the ancient theatre slowly returns to its original form. When you walk around the orchestra and the stands you are dominated by a sense of awe, when you think that here on this site, 2500 years ago, Theatre was born.

theatre of dionysus photos

Arachova Greece

arachova greece photos Arachova is a traditional mountain town in the region of Central Greece situated on the southern slopes of Mount Parnassus, where the most famous ski resort in Greece lies. arachova greece photos Arachova thanks to its ski centre, the archaeological site and the museum of Delphi that are located a very short distance nearby has become one of the most popular travel destinations in Greece both during the winter and summer seasons. arachova greece photos Arachova is surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery and can be used as a base for exploring the surrounding area, the town itself has an excellent tourist infrastructure, where you can also buy a lot of local traditional products. arachova greece photos

The Panathenaic Stadium or Kallimarmaro

Panathenaic Stadium Photos

The Panathenaic Stadium is located on the site of the ancient stadium of Athens, which was rebuilt thanks to the orator Lycurgus in a private space that had been approved for the city by Deinias. The stadium was used for the first time during the celebration of the Great Panathenaia in 330-329 BC; it had the form of a classic ancient Greek stadium and would hold athletic games.

Panathenaic Stadium Photos

In Roman times, the orator and sophist Herodes, son of Atticus, spent much of his enormous assets on public works among them was the total renovation of the stadium. He changed its original shape of a rectangle with the addition of the semicircle that we see today, and installed seats for the spectators made of white Pentelic marble.

Panathenaic Stadium Photos

In the years that followed the stadium was destroyed and the marbles were used as building material. On the occasion of the organization of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and sponsored by a rich Greek benefactor George Averof, stadium was rebuilt from scratch following the form that it had had in the Roman era, again of white Pentelic marble, designed by the architect Anastasios Metaxas. That was the first time that the stadium was named Kallimarmaro (meaning “beautifully marbled”). So it took the form that it has today and we all admire it as one of the finest monuments of Athens.

Panathenaic Stadium Photos

The Propylaea of the Acropolis of Athens

propylaea acropolis athens

The Propylaea of the Acropolis of Athens is the impressive entrance to the Acropolis from the west side, built during the golden age of Pericles by the architect Mnesicles. It is believed that here also stood the gate of the Mycenaean Acropolis. All previous buildings were destroyed by the Persians in 480 BC.

propylaea acropolis athens

After the Persian wars, the buildings were reconstructed by Themistocles and Cimon. The Propylaea that we can see today belongs to the large reconstruction program that took place at the Acropolis during the Classical era, which unfortunately was interrupted by the Peloponnesian War. So the Propylaea were never completed.

propylaea acropolis athens

The Propylaea is impressive in every respect of architecture and art, although it was not completed, Mnesicles passed into immortality along with Ictinus, Callicrates and Phidias the other architects and artists of the Acropolis. At the Propylaea of the Acropolis in a separate room was the very first gallery of the world. There were housed among others, paintings by Polygnotus.

propylaea acropolis athens

Poet or Photographer?

A short story

A new town, new school, first year in high school, new faces and tightly knit groups. The only good thing was that finally I was given the exclusive management of our family camera. The city was beautiful, I met Mr. Kostas one of the professional photographers of the city. From the first moment I liked him and the feeling was mutual. In his dark room it was the first time that I had seen a picture being developed in the developer tray. He used to fill my empty cassettes with  Fortepan 100 film almost for free. Having secured my supply of cheap films, afternoon walks with my camera became my favorite pastime and helped me not to think about the lack of friends.

It was autumn and it rained often. I started walking along the bank of the river that ran across the city. I took pictures of the running water, the stray animals of the city, the trees. Slowly I became more confident and started taking pictures of people who had shops on the river bank, housewives who were cleaning their yards and grandmothers who were gazing lazily at the flowing water, children playing. So it was here that I met Stelios with his long black hair, nose like a hawk’s beak, smeared hands, smudges on his clothes and face. When he refused politely my taking a shot of him, I told him that he was like the Indians who had a problem with being photographed. He had a workshop for motorcycles; his was the most stunning motorcycle I had ever seen. So I passed frequently and took photos of his bike or of his customers’ bikes waiting parked in line to be repaired, and sometimes I managed to steal a photo of Stelios, but from a distance.

poet or photographer

The days passed and slowly I became more acquainted with Stelios but he continued to deny my taking a photo of his truly. He treated me to coffee and I used to sit on the stairs leading to the upper floor only on the condition that I kept my camera in its case. The most beautiful photos are those that I didn’t take, especially while the sun was setting and inflowing through the great door of the garage. All seemed out of place, the metal, the figures of those standing at the door, Stelios girlfriend Anna would come to see him. He was impressed that I always had something to say on every subject. Even for the electronic ignition or the self-regulating valves. And that I always had a story to tell, either of my own or one borrowed from a book.

– How come and you know all this?

– I read them in books Stelios.

– Ah, so you like reading? You must meet my father, he will like you! Want to come to my place with me later?

Although I had ridden a motorcycle in the past, I must admit that my pulse was beating like a jackhammer and my adrenaline was pumping. He was speeding.

Introductions were made; his parents were kind and hospitable.

– Don’t speed Stelios!

– Eh mother I don’t speed… I open the throttle so you can hear me coming and prepare the dinner!

In the living room his father was waiting for us and there was the biggest library I’ve ever seen in someone’s home. The debate itself came on to books, the authors, and the lack of a good bookstore in town. I also realized how few books and important writers I had read, they were not even known to me. I started to read a new book every night, from those Stelios father suggested and kindly lent me.

 

Time passed. Stelios taught me how to ride a bike, he took me to great places, I showed him my photos, he didn’t seem excited about them and he liked my stories more.

– Why do not you write your stories down and become a writer? Are you gonna be a photographer?

One day I wrote a story about him and Anna, which contained my first poem. I showed it to him, he read it and his eyes filled with tears.

– You should become a poet, not a photographer!

 

Meanwhile, my reputation in the small world of my school had risen sharply. Due to Stelios, in all the shops of the city where the pupils used to hang out frequently, they knew me now by name; I had become his little brother, the protégé of Stelios and was treated as such.

Photography made me ​​popular with the girls; everyone wanted to be in my company on the field trips. I became the favorite pupil of the professor of physics who was also an amateur photographer.

Things were going well.

I was taking photos, writing, reading in frantic rhythms. Stelios always became sentimental with my stories, my poems. Anna liked my photos. His father being more an experienced reader advised me, correcting many of my spelling mistakes; my writing style was a bit nerve-racking for him.

 

The year passed like a dream, that summer was the best summer of my life. My drawer was starting to fill with photos, stories and poems. I convinced Stelios to register in a secondary school as he had missed a year, to finish and take the diploma. We went out on bike rides across the plains into some long straights many times with the tachometer in the red. I was shouting above the roar of the engine my new poems standing erect on the back of the bike, wild poems, or taking shots with a bulb. On moonlit nights we climbed the only hill of the town and then descended with the engine and lights switched off. Stelios was still teasing me.

– Why do you carry this camera everywhere with you? We said that you would become a writer.

He used to give me his bike to take a ride on my own. All alone! I was proud of myself!

I passed by the main square at 5 km speed and with some revs, everyone was waving at me.

– Hey Taki!

I took my first fall, I forgot to take a corner and in a spin and I found myself in a field, fortunately only my ego was bruised.

We went on a day trip with my school; Stelios had promised that he would come with Anna to see me. I was tucked into a ditch and was taking photos of some wild thorns and heard the bike coming from the distance, I got up, I was almost at the level of the road and I picked up my camera, I waited and when the frame was full, I took the shot.

Their hair was fluttering, their eyes were shining, Anna’s arms were wrapped around him … this was the best picture I had ever taken. I was happy!

 

One day while I was at school, there was a knock on our classroom door, someone was looking for me. It was one of Stelios friends.

– Stelios is in hospital, asking for you.

– In hospital? Is he hurt? An accident on his bike?

– They went by car to check a bike that had broken down, some people he knew had called him, and he thought not to go with his bike because it was raining. A truck crashed into them, its brakes couldn’t stop it, and it slid. Taki, Stelios is in a severe condition…

– How serious?

– Very serious! And the other two were badly hurt, but Stelios is worse.

At the entrance to the hospital I realized, Stelios was not there anymore!

I saw people gathered, shouting. I turned to leave, Anna was coming, and I grabbed her arm.

– Anna… Stelios is not here, let’s go…

After that, I couldn’t remember anything…

 

This way  we lost Stelios from a ruptured lung. He was 22 years old. His father kept his bike, rusting in the yard, I didn’t see Anna again, I hope she found a nice waist to wrap her thin arms around.

I went to his grave and burned all my writing. I became a photographer.