- Tell us a few things about yourself, so we can get to know you better: your full name, your age and date of birth, your zodiac sign, the place you grew up at, where do you live now and what do you do for a living.
My name is Konstantinos Sofikitis. I was born on June 5th 1987 and I am a Gemini. I grew up in Dionysos, a northern suburb of Athens, then I moved to Marousi and today I live in Pagkrati.
My profession is, mostly, travelling photography. When it comes to future projects, I have a big one in the works, with the help of some great friends and colleagues. We are trying to highlight the individual Aegean personalities, through which we can sense the vibration of each island.
The figures of Aegean is its soul. It’s all those people that are not only connected through a nickname, a special talent or a characteristic look, but through unique stories that compile the history of our Aegean Sea. Miscellaneous people with the common characteristics of the love for their home island, the passion to preserve its history and the inexhaustible desire for life.
Through this project we want to meet people with salt-weathered faces who also have a clear gaze, we want to be part of the immersive stories they tell inside the traditional coffee-houses – places that are gradually vanishing, taking with them whatever goes on inside.
We traced and recorded over 80 habitable islands in the Northeastern Aegean Sea, the Cyclades, the Sporades and the Dodecanese and, through this research, the coffee table book that I am aiming to create has a folklore character, as it preserves pieces from the life of Aegean island folk legends. That is why I lend weight to the photographic depiction of the environmental portrait that manages to define the individual personalities, while revealing to the public the related stories about the protagonist of the picture, when he lived and all the memories of the island that were written in a narrative.
Other than that, I also have another project in the works along with my friend, and a very important person, and athlete, Marios Giannakou. Marios and I essentially met inside the Costa Rican jungle, where the 250klm super-marathon was taking place. Marios finished the marathon successfully and became the first man ever to complete the 3 most demanding super-marathons in the world. What we aim to do is to visit some very secluded tribes, live with them and depict their customs. We are currently at an early stage, but we aspire that this plan will come to fruition in the near future.
- Which is the place you love going to the most, and how often do you go there (and a couple of reasons why) ?
The island of Ikaria is definitely my favourite place to visit. This place gives you the impression that it is evolving every time you visit. Every time I go there it feels like I visit it for the first time. There is a hidden charm to be found in Ikaria, and if you tune-in to that frequency you will not stop discovering new things. I have personally visited this island for 11 years in succession, throughout all four seasons, and my favourite season is between October and January.
- Describe yourself in three words (or less)
- What is your favourite colour, your favourite taste and your favourite hobby?
Blue. Something salty. Conversing with different people, and hiking in the mountains with friends.
- What makes you get out of bed each day?
Usually the alarm! At this point it is also my huge desire and drive to complete the section that records the Aegean people.
- Through your love of travelling, what is the image you remember the most?
The photographs we take are a mirror of our souls. It’s something like a psychogram, and I really enjoy the introspection through the images. A lot of pictures and stories reflectively come to mind. I can’t pick a particular one, but I could pick several and narrate a story.
- Last year you took a trip to Madagascar that was unforgettable. Tell us a couple of things about that place, why did you choose it and how did you experience it?
Driven by Columbia Sportswear’s new campaign, four colleagues, friends and I found ourselves in Madagascar. The last country before Australia. The fourth largest island in the Earth, with stunning scenery, numerous alternations and the characteristics of an entire continent. It’s a place where tourism has not yet flourished.
Our first order of business was to track and observe a scenery so unique, the population that was so clearly influenced by African, southeast-Asian, Indian and French cultures.
Our adventure began before the actual trip, when we learned from friends and colleagues that have travelled there in the past, but also from tourist guides that you cannot traverse Madagascar without a personal guide. That information only fueled our desire to discover the island, rather than putting us off. And not because we are naive regarding the dangers, but because any destination is not the same if you actually have to discover it yourself.
So, with a map, some information we gathered as to where and how could we reach the places we wanted to visit, a desire to adventure, good music, patience and a lot of humor we started our tracking in Madagascar.
In about a month we traversed the whole country, mostly using local means of transportation. Countless hours, days and nights inside dirty trucks in condition of ultimate wretchedness, and countless days and nights in local fishermen’s dugouts (pirogues), who were using almost ancient techniques in the Mozambique Channel.
We got lost in the jungles of the most secluded islands, meeting with tribes that had little to no touch with modern civilization. We got robbed by policemen and even found ourselves in places that you should only visit during the day.
In about a month’s time we tried to perceive a unique place through the secluded tribes, the urban environment and the vibe of the capital of Madagascar. The dramatic scenery, the fishing villages, the jungle, the ways of entertainment the locals had, the fishermens’ habits and , most importantly, their own curiosity about us, that matched our own about them.
Our thoughts in this journey were always accompanied by our friend, and tracker, that passed away not long ago.
- What do you like/dislike?
I really enjoy visiting a pristine, unspoiled place. A place that makes you feel like you have travelled back in time, that you are one of the few, if not the only one, to have found it.
I really disliked the fact that we were robbed in the capital of Madagascar, but that could happen pretty much anywhere.
- Why was Madagascar so impressive and how is it unique?
I was amazed by the primitive way of operations in secluded areas and societies. That factor alone renders Madagascar a truly unique place.
- Which place, or scenery, do you love the most there?
The scenery was, at a great extent, staggering. Through the use of my drone, and the aerial observation and recording, I was able to truly grasp nature’s splendor. As for a place, I would definitely pick a village at the southern part of the island, I don’t really remember it’s name, that was actually the only stop we did while on a 23-hour ride on a makeshift bus. It was during the night and I didn’t see a lot of things. But I did see people that have created the conditions of a small society literally in the middle of nowhere. They had an old, small TV that was used as an outdoor cinema for everyone to watch. They also had a lot of gambling games in what appeared to be an open-air casino, where everyone participated, even kids and elders.
- Which activities would you propose to a friend that had 48 hours to spend in Madagascar?
Travel only by mass means of transportation, avoid the tour guides as much as you can, and visit the very secluded island in the north side that is dubbed as the headquarters of the local pirates.
- Tell us about a unique local recipe or a product, and what makes it so special?
Their cuisine is very similar to the French cuisine, with some variants like using local fruit and spices. The “zebu” is the local calf, and is very much like the veal that we know in Western civilizations. They cook it with a lot of local sauces and tropical fruit, as they do with fish. They also make a mean ceviche!
- Which habit of the local people amazes you the most?
A big percentage of the population fish in numerous ways. One of them is really early in the morning, in the dusk, where there is a tide and it is much easier to catch fish in shallower waters. Another very popular way is spearfishing, and it is extremely impressive, as all the spears are hand-made.
- Favourite thing to do in Athens?
Meeting with friends in houses and places we like to hang out, whether it is for musical adventures and dancing, or cooking, or even having useless, useful and never-ending conversations.
- Which is the most beautiful trip you ever took and which image do you remember the most?
Each of the trips I took served an internal need, and that’s what makes every trip unique at that point. Even though I can’t really answer about the most beautiful, I can single out a very special image that I remember. It was when my childhood friend (and my companion in most of my trips) and I were crossing the Mozambique Channel in a dugout (pirogue) for over 25 hours. At dusk, while sailing in this hand-made craft out of a single log, and in the night (right before we encountered a storm that was one of the biggest challenges we had to endure), where there was no light pollution.
- Where would you like to be now?
Reflexively, my answer would be the island of Ikaria. But I like, and try to enjoy, each individual place, the moment and the reason I’m there, so right now I would even say Athens, which is my favourite city.
- Which is the next destination you would like to visit?
A few years ago I bought a book that has mapped all the countries that don’t exist in the world map. After the Aegean project, or at the same time, I would like to visit some of these places.
- Words to live by in life?
Serenity, Self-criticism, Empathy, Respect, Humility
- What kind of music to you listen to these days? Send us 10 of your favourite tracks and how would you title them if they were feelings?
In recent years I have been charmed by the traditional island music. Also, I really feel at peace when listening to 1920s-30s Argentinian tango.
I can’t pick out 10 of my favourite tracks, simply because they change so often! I really enjoy to listen some of Pink Floyd’s timeless tracks in the afternoons. And I infinitely enjoy listening to Katerina Papadopoulou and the Notio Tokso’s covers of traditional songs. In fact, we will collaborate with these artists in our Aegean project. Last but not least, I tend to space out while listening to the radio, to classical music and the piano.