Leonidas Vaggalis: Capturing Emotion in Everyday Situations

All words and photos by Leonidas Vaggalis. Used with permission.

My name is Leonidas Vaggalis, and I come from Athens, Greece. Married to a beautiful wife and two great kids. I am a photographer in my free time and want to shoot anything that makes me get into thoughts. Generally, I like to give an emotion to each photograph I take, but I don’t always succeed. I like street photography because it’s kinda random and people act natural.

The analog camera I have is a Pentax K1000 (a gift from my father) but I’m not using it anymore. So nowadays, I prefer to use my Pentax K50 and the newly owned Sony a6300. I also had the Canon 550D, but it had a serious accident and it’s not working anymore.

The photographers that got me into this magical world are Ansel Adams, of course, and the mighty Daido Moriyama, who I prefer the most. Apart from that, there is not much else to say about myself. I’m kinda shy, I guess.

Why did you get into photography?

Basically, I don’t talk too much, so I had to somehow express my emotions and feelings. Photography was a way to get out of it.

What photographers are your biggest influences?

Daido Moriyama will always be my number one in my (very short) list.

How long have you been shooting?

Since the 90s, when my father gave me his Pentax K1000. I have tons of films, but unfortunately, I’m too bored to scan them!

Why is photography and shooting so important to you?

It’s all about feelings and emotions.

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

Maybe a bit of both. I haven’t really thought about what I really am. All I want is to express myself.

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

I like black and white so much, so when I’m shooting, I try to think about how an image would look colorless. This always helps me get to the subject (or what I think is the subject) of my composition.

Want to walk us through your processing techniques?

There’s not much really to tell. I try different things for each photograph until I’m satisfied with the result. Generally, I create two copies. One in black and white and the other one in color.

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

Nothing special for now, because work eats all my time, though I have some thoughts for the future. I just keep shooting whatever catches my eye.

What made you want to get into your genre?

Acting real.

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

I really love my Pentax K50. It feels great to the hand and it’s a pity that many people don’t know about Pentax. It’s as heavy as it should be, great ergonomics, but the most important thing is that it makes you feel like a real photographer. I really can’t explain the feeling, but it really is something else.

What motivates you to shoot?

Mostly melancholy and abstract thoughts, which I think are better shown in my black and white images.


Check out Leonidas Vaggalis on Instagram to follow his work.