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Dreams via the lens

05 Mar 2019

Dreams via the lens Image

By David Schout

Stavros Messinis was determined to ensure his latest project was abstract yet realistic, surreal yet representative.

“I’m expressing myself poetically,” he explained. “It’s like a visual poem.”

Despite the challenging brief, he appears to have nailed it.

His recently published photo book, Dream State, has been almost immediately acclaimed.

A project depicting the state of diminished consciousness, Messinis produced a collection of images through a variety of techniques to portray a dreamy, illusory state.

In December, Dream State won a Centre for Contemporary Photography award for Best Photobook Design.

Now, it has been nominated as a finalist at the 2018 Australian and New Zealand Photobook Awards.

“The feedback has been very good, which is very exciting and encouraging,” Messinis, a Photography Studies College (PSC) student, said.

“The book has also had very good media exposure both here and overseas, especially through social media.”

The project started as a personal style development project at Southbank’s PSC, and Messinis described it as “poetic photography composition published in book form”.

“In the series I explore the concept of dream state - the state of diminished consciousness in which the environment is considered as in a dream. It’s inspired by surrealism and the work of photographers like Man Ray, Francesca Woodman, Michael Arkeman, Daisuke Yokota and Daido Moriyama.”

He said the end product was the result of carefully thought-out production steps.

“By using a black and white palette and processing images with a variety of techniques, I attempted to give another dimension to my photography.”

“The series balances the dream and the narrative as well as the poetic-spectral space and the presence of certain form.”

For Messinis, photography has always been a strong point of interest.

He was born in Greece and studied journalism, photography, literature and arts in both his home country and Australia.

He then worked as a journalist and editor for various newspapers, magazines and radio stations.

All throughout this time, it wasn’t uncommon to see him with a camera strap around this neck.

“I became interested in photography while I was studying journalism in Athens,” he said.

“I set up a small darkroom in my apartment and I was processing my films and my photos. Later I used digital cameras, but I still use film and I am experimenting with analogue photography.”

Dream State is his third photo book, and other works have been featured in various exhibitions.

His decision to collate the works into a photo book was a pointed one.

“I have a book publishing and designing background and I love books. Presenting this project in a book form with its special design was like doing an installation of my work in a gallery or a museum. Dream State is not just a collection of individual photos. Through this composition I am expressing myself poetically. It is like a visual poem.”

Messinis is into his third year of an Advanced Diploma of Photography at PSC.

“During my studies at PSC I have received a lot of assistance and feedback from my tutors and classmates and gradually I developed my own personal style of expressing myself poetically through photography,” he said.

“I really appreciate the feedback I had from my teachers and classmates – all very talented photographers and artists.”

He released a limited collector’s edition of 50 numbered and signed copies.

To check out and purchase his work, go to messinis-art.com

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