Text and Interview by: Sarah Sickles
The images illustrating this interview are from the series “I’m Not Malfunctioning, You Are.”
Kostis Fokas is a Greek born, London based, photographer with an interest in the absurd, the human body, and self-improvement. His imagery evokes a sense of youth, adventure, and sexuality that can only be found in places as picturesque and romantic as his European environment. These erotic photographs land somewhere between abstraction and reality, exploring the infinite capabilities of the human body and making us question where our identities and sexualities actually reside.
*The following interview was conducted via email, and has been condensed and edited.*
AC: Did you have a creative childhood?
KF: My passion for art started at the age of five when my mother taught me how to draw. My mother is a painter and from an early age she encouraged me to deal with art. Photography was not my first passion though. For many years I was involved with painting, and later, with comics, street art and graffiti. At that time, a good friend of mine gave me very old analog camera praktica, as a gift. I started photographing directly with passion while I started studying photography in school.
AC: What cameras do you use?
KF: I’m using cheap and second hand cameras, film and digital. I was never really interested in the cameras. I always loved the pictures.
AC: Do you feel that you have a responsibility as an artist to the world?
KF: My images aspire to deal with issues, such as the human body and sexual abnormalities among others. I definitely raise many questions, but it is ultimately left up to each individual viewer to decide and reach their own conclusions about my work.
AC: How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?
KF: I started working on my personal and first ever project, I’m not malfunctioning, you are, three years ago, in September of 2012. I have long sought a meaning behind this project. However, it was something that was revealed later on in the process when I gradually started thinking about the driving force that encouraged me to tap into my inner self. I found this very intriguing; the whole idea of revealing, piece-by-piece, parts of my darkest and deepest desires.
AC: Your subjects are often faceless. Is identity an important part of your work?
KF: Through my photos I wish to present a new take on the human body and explore its infinite capabilities. The use of quirky and sometimes hidden faces communicates exactly that. Unlike photography that seeks to reveal the feelings of the objects portrayed through the use of faces and expressions, I shift my focus to the complete freedom pertained by the image of a human body. Stripped from its clothes, I leave it fully exposed and completely surrendered.
AC: What are you working on at the moment? Do you have any upcoming projects?
KF: I’ve just finished my project, “I’m not Malfunctioning, You Are,” which I was working on for the last three years. Currently I’m working on my first photo book with a publication house in Paris, which will be released in 2016.
AC: What inspires you?
KF: I have my eyes and my mind open to anything that surrounds me. Playing a big role in my inspirations are my temperament and my mood. I’m a lonely person, even when I’m in a crowd. I feel like I have a hard disk inside my mind processing everything that passes in front of my eyes. Lately I like seeing paintings and reading about the history of art. I always find something that fascinates and inspires me.
AC: Who are some of your favorite artists right now?
KF: John Waters is my favourite artist. I like both his work and his personality.
AC: What can you not live without?
KF: Being able to express myself freely is very important to me. I don’t think I could live without this freedom.
AC: If you had to pick one thing that you like most about yourself, what would it be?
KF: What I like about myself, and also appreciate in other people, is kindness and positive intentions.