Looking for Sun with Ilias Lois

Ilias Lois is a 24-year-old photographer from Greece, working in Athens for Photographos magazine. After photography classes at Athens University of Applied Sciences, he studied for one year in Italy where he enlarged his vision with sculpture and engraving, as it helped him to understand more aspects of image composition. He is currently working on a project which explore the inability to navigate within the big cities. We’ll take a look at his series Looking for Sun.

How did you get interested in photography and why did you pick photography as a medium and form of expression?
The ambiguity that characterizes every single photo is the main reason I am attracted to this form of art. My goal is to be able to associate many small pieces of ambiguity in a body of work to tell a certain story, that inevitably will have some alternative readings from the viewers.

Introduce us to your series Looking for Sun.
Sunshine is in short supply across the northern Europe, shrouded in heavy cloud from a seemingly never-ending series of low pressure systems. In the last months of 2017, the inhabitants of these countries experienced one of the darkest winters ever recorded. Exposure to natural light inhibits the secretion of melatonin, which stimulates sleep and favors the production of hormones that stimulate the body. Lack of it can lead to seasonal depression, the symptoms of which include lack of energy and drowsiness. For few days a short “break” of sunshine took place.

I live in one of the sunniest city in Europe, Athens. Hence, I decided to move to the north (Finland) for several weeks and see their way of living. For this project I decided to use a Mamiya medium format camera.

Do you remember a particular anecdote when the sun appeared?
When the sun appeared, my disappointment was intense. And it reappeared on the second and third day and continued. I went to the North to photograph the snow, the cloudy weather and the way of living in this climate condition, but I ended up photographing people -like the one who is reading a book while- enjoying the sunshine. Thus, I decided to focus on the lives of people with these rare lighting conditions for as many days as the sun remain up there.

How do people react and organize themselves facing this lack of sunlight?
One of the most typical moments was when I saw one man I photographed, taking vitamin D in a capsule. Then, I realized that this is something common there because the human body can synthesize 90% of vitamin D through ultraviolet radiation and only 10% through food. Also, a dietary survey data indicate that recent national policies that include fortification and supplementation, coupled with a high habitual intake of oil-rich fish, have resulted in an increase in vitamin D intakes.

More on his website.

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