Interview: Petros Aronis

Petros Aronis is a visual artist specializing in photography and film, based in London and Athens. He was born and raised in Athens. He studied History of Art at the University of Glasgow. This degree introduced him to theories of gender and intersectionality that have become an integral part of his artistic work. Currently, he is in London undertaking a Master’s program in Film Directing at the University of Arts, London.
Petros’ main aspiration was to become a film director. He took up photography in 2015 as a way of controlling his aesthetic abilities in a single frame before moving to 25 frames per second. However, he ended up loving the medium of photography and he has been working in fine art and fashion photography ever since. His photographic style is defined by concepts and his subjects, while the images often incorporate drama, sarcasm, and a flair of surrealism. At present, Petros is preparing his first short film ‘Outwit’, a drama that deals with transphobia and the effects of violence.
Generally, Petros’s work stands in support of all minority groups and strives for equality and social unity.

What are your favorite colors to use in your work and why?

I love colors. I rarely use black and white photography, unless the project demands it. In the same way, I choose a specific color palette for each photographic project. What I like about colors is the way they are contrasted against each other, so I cannot say I have a favorite color but my favorite color combination is red and blue.

How do you pick your models?

Most of my work consists of my friends and even if they are not my friends, I make sure to get to know my models before photographing them. I like to develop a relationship of trust between my subjects and myself. My work is personal to a great extent and I want to feel as comfortable as my models. At the same time, the better I know my subjects the better I can reveal them in my photographs.

What is the ideal beauty for you?

I do not believe in beauty ideals and I do not want to perpetuate the unrealistic beauty standards we have been force-fed by the media. Beauty is not one thing and it is definitely not static. Let’s stop viewing individuals as categories. But to answer the question, I like people whose appearance brings out their personality and I like people who merge different levels of femininity and masculinity.  

What are some of the problems you ran into during your photography career?

The biggest problem for myself, that I think many others face, is the elitism of the industry. It appears that there is a certain favoritism for the people who are already at the top of the industry and their network. The same people seem to be getting all the gigs and if a new talent is offered a job it is often offered for exposure. I have been contacted multiple times by brands asking for a collaboration. The story is always the same; they tell me how much they enjoy my work, yet they are not willing to pay me for it. Looking back, generally, in the history of art, there is a real issue regarding who is allowed and who is not allowed to make it in the art industry. The issue becomes even more complicated if we take into consideration the race, gender, and sexuality of the photographers who were able to continuously work successfully. This is not new, conversations about the elitism of the art industry have been going on for years. I just hope things will change during my lifetime.

Has photography changed the way you see things?

Photography has conditioned my seeing into how others will experience and interpret my photographs. I think through photography I have gotten caught up in self-presentation. I am becoming less concerned about experiencing and capturing the moment and instead, I am more concerned about the way I present my work. I don’t think this is necessarily a good or bad change but I need to work on balancing these two.

What are you working on at the moment?

I just shot a summer story called WADE with my friend Maria while we were visiting the Greek island of Lefkada.  Additionally, I have been preparing a photography book titled L’AMOUR (C’) EST (LA) MORT. The book showcases the intimate moments of young couples in their bedrooms. The project was born in 2018 as a criticism towards our society’s fascination with romantic love.