Make your own “Google” search story! I tried my hand at mine :-)

I am sure you have watched and enjoyed the Google viral video about “Parisian Love“. Now, Google and youtube offer you an ultra easy-to-use online tool to help you create your own “Google search” videos in a few minutes!

All you have to do is make up your own story as a sequence of  “Google searches” and then define what kind of results you want (typical search, maps, images etc.). You can preview the short clip, then select the music and voila! Of course it aims at promoting Google capabilities more than you, but hey! it’s fun!

As a Greek photographer I have made my own 30″ Google Search video to promote my Greece photos! What do you think? 🙂

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A lonely photo, it was not! – Stories behind photos #9

Judging from the final result of this photo shot at picturesque Burano (Venice), you would imagine that all the time of the world was at my disposal to make this picture of utmost calmness. It is almost obvious that the absence of any distractions whatsoever, was reflected at my eyesight and then to the quiet moment that I chose to capture. I could have leisurely taken my spot, delving concentrated into another moment of loneliness that contributes to deep thoughts, and then to photos.

But -as known- reality is harsh, for this photo was the result of an anxious search for the best point in the island, including some instances of fast-paced run I shall admit! You see the boat that brought me to Burano, had intermediate stops that I did not plan! I was there barely on time to set up tripod. And then I had company! And I mean quite a large company bugging me from my self-inflicted mission!

A bunch of little Italian boys and girls, kids in their early school years, were playing along the canals of this magnificent fishermen island, a few meters away… Kids’ curiosity is of course notorious! Spotting me with my bulky bag and tripod while selecting my spot on top of their wooden bridge, probably triggered some of their most sociable neurons. They all run to my place on the bridge, some 10 or 15 of them!  It seems I was becoming part of a game that they played with tourists!

Sei Italiano?”… they asked!

Their sincere eyes and the tone of their questions probably triggered my own childish neurons (if any left!) deep in my own mind. I had decided to play their game! My role, I supposed, was to let them find by themselves where I was coming from. “No, i miei amici!” I responded in bad Italian, taking turns in their game! And then there was this bees-like assembly, with various nationality-words being thrown on air, in Italian. Every now and then, another question arose as if a decision was made: “Spagnolo?”, “Francese?”. My negative responses where becoming even more anxious…. but not due to the fact the “Greco” was not an obvious choice for my little neighbors… I was eager to participate, yet I was losing the click for the light that I planned, with tens of kids around me asking words!  

I juggled between answers and camera settings, letting half my brain respond to the game and the other half making aperture adjustments. Two clicks were my only harvest from this beautiful point while praying to have made the right camera choices through this game! Yet, my little friends kept asking and asking with increased speed, as light was taking its final dip behind the colourful fishermen houses. “Greco” I said, and suddenly the game was over!…..

One of them, a little boy that had probably guessed right, was the winner! He raised his hand in celebration of his victory, even though he was never heard aloud! They acknowledged the result and all together, the fifteen of them, started to run in great speed to the place they had come from, the victorious one in front with the hand still up reminding his victory at this great game!

It was my turn to pack my equipment and continue my stroll, following the other direction of the bridge. I heard a very loud “Grazie” from the last kid of this swarm, while he turned to me to thank for enlivening their game. “Grazie”, I responded and continued my walk.

Too pity that I was not sure whether I could also raise my own hand to celebrate a great picture. I was distracted, yet I enjoyed, and my sole two photos from the wooden bridge could not be judged until later, while at the hotel.

Meanwhile, a bit farther away another couple was approaching the bridge. The little voices were heard…

Sei Italiano?!”… 

 A lonely photo, it was not!

Questions unasked and unanswered – Stories behind photos #8

There exist those weird moments in life when pictures of the past, flash upon you and brutally drag you to younger ages!

 

A split-hair second becomes a time-machine, triggered by a smell, a reminiscent glimpse, a familiar face of a stranger. A typically indifferent moment, instead of passing by to its road to oblivion, decides to stay and play with you, your memories or your long-forgotten thoughts.

 

Memories that lay hidden at the deepest corners of the brain, expose themselves and pose all sorts of difficult questions…  Not personally to you! But rather to the kid that you always hide: When did I last meet this now-lost friend? What were my last words to him? Did I know back then, at this typical afternoon “goodbye”, that I would never see him again? Where is the toy that I cherished as a child? When I last placed it in the toy-drawer tens of years ago, did I know it would be forever? Why am I not missing all these? What has changed?

 

Questions unasked and unanswered.

 

Relations and emotional links torn apart, not by a firm decision, a powerful choice or a necessity, but rather by the strongest element of nature: Time. The long and winding road to the bottom of oblivion… And then! This tinker second… This powerful glimpse… This intrusive force that brings your lost childish thought or deeply buried picture back to the surface!

 

I was literally spending my last minutes in Nafplio town, the former capital of Greece. We were to depart in less than an hour. It was probably the eighth visit to this picturesque place, but this time I had my camera with me.

 

Magnificent scenes shoved over to my face, mercilessly. Beauty unleashed without any need to seek it. Nafplio photos easily captured but void of any feeling of success that comes after working hard for them. Scouting the place, chasing the light and being the first to conquer a magic moment is probably the thrust behind any photo venture. But without them? A feeling of “I have been here too…”. It’s like searching for a secret passage, only to find that it exists but it’s now a touristic highway with signs pointing to it everywhere.

 

But life when mixed with the ingredients of time and place, play games. And at the last corner, possibly at my last steps at the alleys of Nafplio, I was greeted with that tinker second, this time-machine of mine that brought me back almost 30 years…

 

A thought that re-surfaced. My bicycle that I had as a kid, standing against a wall. Or should I say still waiting for me… When did I last ride it? When did I last greet it? What roads did I last cross with it! Was I playing the good or the bad guy?

 

Questions unasked and unanswered.

 

Only this bike, serving to remind me what I had long forgotten.

And then these steps ahead, moving upwards. As if I had left my bicycle here in oblivion, to ascend life, exiting the childhood picture at the first alley. A place now empty cause I had to grow up. I had to grow up. And I had to change scene. Not that I decided it… But you see, it’s always this vicious element: Time.

 

This otherwise “indifferent” second in time, decided to play with me, bringing past moments and thinking that it would bury again to the deep sea of subconscious.

 

But I had my camera with me! And since it wanted to play with me, I wanted too! It was my spontaneous decision to hold this memory alive. A shameless decision to keep all these unasked questions at the foreground. Even if I could still not answer them!

 

I composed the scene to include the bicycle and the stairs ahead. I shot two photos of my childhood that later de-colored during photo-processing. I do remember capturing this place. I am not sure about the time though. Was it afternoon? What was the day? And the year?

 

One thing was sure… I had embarked on an unbalanced fight. I was challenged by this playful “second in time” and, on my part, I was determined to not let it go.

 

Can I please keep my bike or my youth reminiscence, vivid? I am not sure!

 

Despite my best efforts, it’s always this vicious element that’s going to tell: Time

Photographing people who you don’t know…

Female Gallery - Yannis Larios photographyPhotographing people, especially people you don’t know in out-of-studio situations, still remains a difficult task for me…

Knowing how to approach people as a photographer requires a few tips. Be genuine, be empathetic, understand that it may not work and a few others, are included in a helpful post at ZachlsHere. Click to read.