Athens photo tours, whyathens.com
Photograph: Maria Theocharopoulou founder of Greece Photo Workshops

Capturing the joy of life

47

Photography is a Greek word. It’s literal translation being ‘drawing with light’.  Who would have thought when we stopped putting film in our cameras and loading them with small memory cards instead, it was the dawn of a visual orgy.

The ‘drawing with light’ definition has also somewhat evolved. Today, millions of photos are uploaded every minute to social media platforms, where the “selfie” has become the modern day portrait.

Photography is now a highly popularised “art form” and we are finding ourselves having to make the distinction between amateur  and professional. Claiming you’ve been published just doesn’t cut it anymore.

Travel photography; capturing places, landscapes and other people, certainly separates the wheat from the chaff.  If you want to take your abilities to the next level, it is a skill that is patiently acquired.

To save yourself mega-bites of space full of blurred shots or overexposed sunsets, you could consider jumping on the travel-trend bandwagon and booking yourself a photography vacation. You’ll not only go home with bragging rights of where you’ve been, but you’ll also have the picture perfect shots to match.

Maria Theocharopoulou of Greece Photo Workshops set up her photo travel business in Athens in 2014. Having worked for Conde-Nast Traveller, Harper’s Bazaar and Madame Figaro in advertising and marketing, she has brought her two passions for travel and photography together.

We meet at the rooftop bar above the Hilton hotel at that magical time when the light just starts to fade from the day. I’m feeling slightly inadequate about the automatic camera I’m holding. I would be denied access to one of her upmarket workshops, where the pre-requisite is a DSLR. A tripod is also recommended but I think they would let it slide.

It’s hard not to get swept away with the view of Athens on the 12th floor of a 5-star hotel and after Maria explained the type of tours she offers I wanted to sign up immediately.

Her motivation for starting her business was to share her love of Greece and offer an alternative path to the often all-inclusive homogenized version of Greece that is so commonly offered,

Athens photo, whyathens.com

Photograph: The dome inside St Dionysios Areopagitis, Kolonaki. Nikos Kokkas of Greece Photo Workshops

“I longed to share the authentic character, the unpretentious hospitality where the typical homely Greek cuisine is still served…(my workshops) are for foreigners who really appreciate, respect and go after the real thing,” she said.

The success of her tours she believes comes from the intimate groups of three to six people, “who share the same passion for photography, travelling and sophisticated living,” she explained.

Maria represents many who have had to look inward rather than outward to feel confident about the future. I suggested to her that Athens is becoming a more inventive and creative place because of the widespread adversity and she agreed.

“Definitely, most of us have lost the comfort and security of abundance and have had to think over our future and redefine our (personal) values,” she said.

After a fascinating discussion, Maria left and I stayed to adore the view. The sun was setting now. I thought about Maria and how she encapsulates the Greek spirit.  She wrote a moving summary to me by email shortly after our meeting, on how she sees Athens.

“…Under the slopes of the Acropolis in the old historical neighborhoods of Plaka and Monastiraki. The neoclassical mansions and red-tiled roofs, the small winding roads, the picturesque stairs, the balconies blooming with bougainvillea, geraniums and jasmine…and the mosaic of people, hordes of people crossing the area as streams. Tourists gazing, locals wondering, vendors luring us with their merchandise. The joy of life. Life itself.”

A moving and beautiful portrayal of Athens but I’m not surprised, after all she is in the business of capturing the perfect picture and willing to share the journey with anyone who is in search of the real thing.

We would like to thank Maria Theocharopoulou for her participation and assistance with this article. This post was not sponsored in any way and as always all opinions are our own.