All images by Mike Ioannidis. Used with permission.
Photographer Mike Ioannidis is a 26 year old mechanical engineer that loves bike riding, climbing and analog photography. He lives in Athens, Greece. “…photography has played a vital role in my life!” Mike tells us about the last seven years. “Although it doesn’t pay my bills, it serves a greater purpose!” For Mike, photography is a form of self expression. He gets a chance to express emotions, feelings and capture what he sees, in the unique way.
Like many of us, we use photography to remember moments. In particular, for Mike it was a way for him to just keep memories alive. Well, that is until he got into film photography; then he started to name Vivian Maier, Ansel Adams and Bill Brandt as his influences. “Shooting film gradually led me on creating these valuable moments and rapidly transformed me from an observer into a creator.” Indeed, that’s very evident in the work that Mike does. He attributes this to the preference he has for the process of creating a photo which includes planning, inspiration and a lot of love-giving into it.
Mike’s process involves shooting film, developing and working in the darkroom to get a very specific look. Better yet, he does this without any sort of digital means. Because he’s working with his hands and without any sort of distractions, Mike says that he gets to use his creativity to the fullest. But don’t get him mistaken, the images don’t really come out in the darkroom. Instead, Mike visualizes what he wants before he even clicks the shutter.
According to Mike:
Before I “pull the trigger”, I take into consideration every possible variable, I try different shooting angles and different lighting until the time, in my viewfinder appears what I was hoping to see from the first time.
Sometimes you never see that image you had on your mind, but most of the times is because you didn’t search enough for it.
This pursuit for perfection in order to take a picture is what made me fall in love with analog photography and made me distinguish it completely from digital photography.
Mike’s favorite camera is what he calls the medium format Ukrainian “monster” KIEV 60 used with the Carl Zeiss Biometar 80mm, the 50mm Flektogon, the 180mm Sonnar and the Mir 65mm. But he also totes around the LUBITEL 1, the KODAK Brownie 620, a homemade 6×6 pinhole camera made out of cardboard and a homemade 6×9 pinhole camera made out of thin wood at times.
When it comes to 35mm film I use the PENTAX Spotmatic F, the EXA 1B and the CANON Canonet QL19. Nowadays, I’m completely into black and white film, with KODAK TMAX 400 and ILFORD DELTA 400 being two of my favorites. Less often I shoot with ROLLEI Infrared films, FOMAPAN films and the “sketchy” SHANGHAI films.
I process black and white films using the ILFORD Ilfosol 3 or the ILFORD Perceptol (which I prefer because of the smooth tones and the low grain it results in),I use a mix of water and vinegar as Stop bath and afterwards I use the ILFORD Rapid fixer and the same goes for paper (except Perceptol and “vinegar stop bath”).
Most of the times I presoak the film in water before I pour the developer inside the tank and often
I “push” 100 iso films to 400 iso, a process that has never let me down.