Dafni Kemeridou Explores The Truth About Herself in Self Portraits (Slightly NSFW)

All images by Dafni Kemeridou. Used with permission.

Dafni Kemeridou is a young photographer, born in Thessaloniki, Greece, in 1994. She studied photography at I.E.K. AKMI School (2012-2014) and attended photographic workshops given by photographer Dimitris Triantafyllou (2016-2017). In 2015-2016, she gave presentations and held photographic editing sessions for FOAPTH (the photography club of the Aristotelean University of Thessaloniki). She uses photography as a visual tool to explore and question herself and the world. Her photography deals with themes such as time, dreams, and existentialism. She usually prefers the low light of the twilight hours that creates an atmosphere of mystery and emotional depictions within the image. The longer exposures and light manipulations that also exist in most of her images are there to enhance the sense of time and space.

She is currently working as a freelance photographer mainly for wedding, baptism, concert, and event photography. At the same time, she is working on her personal projects that are in progress.

Why did you get into photography?

I’ve always liked photography, because of the atmosphere that the light can create. Since high school I made the decision to follow this career and I remain loyal to this choice.

Who are your biggest photographic influences?

It’s difficult for me to choose favorite photographers, I like so many of different styles. Just to name a few, I admire the works of Elina Brotherus, Todd Hido, and Hiroshi Sugimoto. My biggest influence though is my tutor, mentor and friend Dimitris Triantafyllou.

How long have you been shooting?

I started at 2012 at the age of 18 from the moment I got into the photo school, but after 2015 I began shooting full time.

Why is photography and shooting so important to you?

Photography is only a way for me to express the feelings some others write in poetry, compose in music, or search in philosophy.

It’s my way of doing my own research about the world and myself and question them.

Do you feel you’re more of a creator or a documenter? Why?

I create realities which are certainly not realistic, but they do reflect the truth in me, so I also feel like I am documenting myself sometimes.

What’s typically going through your mind when you create images? Tell us about your processes both mentally and mechanically?

Nothing really goes through my mind, I take photos when I feel like something is there, something that makes my mind wander. Often, I carry the equipment that I might need when I go on a field trip even if I won’t take any photos. When I want to take a photo I feel it and my mind then is empty from anything else, which makes me glad later for carrying everything I needed.

Want to walk us through your processing techniques?

For my current work in progress, “Sandman”, I photograph mainly after the sunset during the blue hour, civil twilight and nautical twilight. I have long exposures and I use a hand torch for a brief light painting. There are photos taken with flash as well or with ND filter, depending on the situation. I also experiment with instant film and toy cameras.

Tell us about the project that you’re pitching, or your portfolio.

Sandman is a metaphorical title I chose inspired by the European myth of the dream lord. It’s a series of self-portraits I started doing in 2016, when I went for 6-week vocation in Gavdos, a small isolated island south of Crete. It was my first journey so far from home and for so long, and the island gave me the chance to clear my mind and start questioning. I was a young adult, leaving the adolescent years and starting a life of independence. It’s a very crucial point, everything changes and the feelings are mixed. Dreams and fears, longings and burdens.

What made you want to get into your genre?

The feeling of mystery in the world.

Tell us a bit about the gear you use and how you feel it helps you achieve your creative vision.

I use a Fujifilm XE2s camera for my personal work, which I love. It’s light, it’s small and has unique colors. I also carry a tripod, a flash with Wi-Fi triggers (just in case I need it) and hand torch. I use as minimal equipment as possible and I try to have the photos ready from the camera. I post-process my photos in a minimal manner using only basic tonal and color adjustments.

What motivates you to shoot?

Everything that I feel for this world and everything this world is giving me in return.

The project I’m doing is a series of self-portraits that contains my whole truth. I feel like I expose myself to everyone to see my sensitivities, my weaknesses, my desires. This is not a very easy thing to do, and it takes courage but for me it’s very important to search through your own self and then start questioning reality. I think a lot of people can relate to these feelings and this personal journey of existential search, especially younger people because they are probably experiencing similar emotions and thoughts from their own realities.