Ioanna Sakellaraki


Born in 1989 in Athens, Ioanna is a graduate of photography, journalism and culture. Through personal and subjective forms of documentary photography she explores the fine line between isolation and obsession looking into the connection of humans with places. She has exhibited her work in three solo and several group exhibitions including Athens Photo Festival, Kolga Tbilisi Photo Festival and Retina Scottish International Photography Festival among others. She is currently based in Brussels and is a Contributor for Barcroft Media and Caters News Agency providing photography content to major global media such as The Guardian, CNN, The Telegraph and Getty Images. 

Artist Statement

I grew up in a country where shaming is a lifelong tradition for positioning someone in society. What makes us escape our own country and how do we live based on values we once learnt and always questioned? How do we struggle, allow and accept? Aidos talks about the idea behind what we see, what we feel, how we express desire and what we believe is possible, all filtered through, and constrained by, society. In my effort to draw the portrait of Greece in transition, I came across a constant worry steaming from comparison of the self's state of being with the ideal social context's standard. Keeping in mind the idea of naivety behind our choices, I hope to document the freedom of the commonplace and the individual struggle of the becoming. In Greek mythology, Aidos was the goddess of shame, modesty and humility.

Below, Ioanna answered a few questions about her series and photography practice!

Why did you choose photography over other artistic mediums?

I feel that photography connects both my fears and my desire for freedom. By photographing what I struggle with I appropriate it and eventually accept it. The process of making images sets my mind free.

How did this series start for you creatively?

Aidos started almost 2 years ago when my father passed away. Having lived away from Greece for the last 8 years, I felt the need to create a body of work through which I could understand my own country. Aidos is inspired by memory while embracing transformation. The concept I built around the series comes from a strong personal interpretation of my homeland and photography is the medium used for setting up a mood around these ideas and feelings.

What reflections have you come to after finishing this series? If you are still working on the series, what revelations have come up while creating the series?

We are all naïve even if we are trying so hard to come across as all settled and strong minded. I think embracing simplicity and acknowledging the individual struggle is a very big step towards an honest life with or without art in it. Our approach to the world is always going to be personal and we should embrace this subjectivity as it can be a great source of inspirational art.

Who is your favorite photographer and why?

Robert Adams. The following saying encapsulates for me all that photography and life is about.

‘’How can we hope, after all, to see a tree or rock or clear north sky if we do not adopt a little of their mode of life, a little of their time? …if the time it takes to cross space is a way by which we define it, then to arrive at a view of space “in no time” is to have denied its reality…”

Are there any books, movies, magazines or podcasts that you would recommend people to check out?

Ways of Seeing by John Berger, The Society of the Spectacle by Guy Debord, René Magritte: Selected Writings by René Magritte, On Photography by Susan Sontag

Lastly, what artists are currently inspiring you?

Nayyirah Waheed, Manfred Willmann, and Alain Resnais.

You can follow more of Ioanna's work on her website and Instagram!