Myconian Collection’s Photographer C. Drazos Talks About Aegean Light

Hotel Photographer since 2000.

Master storyteller and photographer Christos Drazos talks about light, process and the multitude of reasons to be completely enamoured with Greece.

Christos launched his career in the mid-90s and gravitated naturally toward hotel photography, a niche he was destined to conquer. Some two decades on, and having worked with over 250 of the finest boutique hotels and luxury hospitality brands in more than 10 countries, Christos is one of Greece’s most accomplished hotel photographers, renowned for his unique eye and a strong storytelling style that transcends form and light to capture the essence of his subjects.

You are known for your ability to capture each hotel’s unique character. What’s your process? Do you plan the images in advance?

A photograph is an open invitation to potential guests. It must promise and enchant, make the viewer want to live in and experience the moment the image depicts. You have to capture the holiday dream, and the photograph that most fully encapsulates this is your hero shot. You can sit at a desk and think about it all you want, but it doesn’t reveal itself until you’re actually there at the hotel. That’s why when I start a new project, I like to arrive at the hotel a day early and take the time to wander and explore, to spend some time there and connect with the place. Then shooting is about capturing that experience, conveying those moments to other people.

As Christos says at his blog, living on an island somewhere in the Aegean Sea is like living on a star; it’s the strange feeling of being part of a constellation, yet disconnected at the same time.

Thinking back to your projects to date, which do you think has been the most challenging?

I didn’t get into photography to make a living. I got into photography because it was what I always wanted. Some projects I take on because they pay the bills and some because they clear my head. As photographers, we are observers, and it’s good to take the time to turn that observation inwards, to your heart and your soul, and then bring that resulting ease and that energy to your commercial work. The truth is that there’s no routine in my line of work. Every new project is a unique challenge. My work takes me from the Baltics to the Red Sea, shooting back-to-back assignments across continents. How could I not be excited about it? I’ve been doing this for long enough that there’s no stress involved anymore. It’s all about the thrill in the challenge. So the bigger the challenge, the bigger the thrill.

I’ve dedicated much of my life to photographing around the Aegean, and I’ve come to realise that no two islands are alike. The local culture and way of thinking differ from island to island.

After more than two decades of photographing hotels in Greece and abroad, what do you think it is that sets our country apart as a destination?

Greece’s biggest competitive advantage is its diversity. I’ve dedicated much of my life to photographing around the Aegean, and I’ve come to realise that no two islands are alike. The local culture and way of thinking differ from island to island. The cuisine can also vary dramatically, even though the islands are so close to each other. Some islands are arid, some show strong influences brought by those who migrated from the coast of Turkey, and some still carry the heritage of the period of Venetian rule. Greece is very diverse. It’s a small country but also many countries in one, depending on what you’re looking for. This wealth can never be taken from us, and we must build on it. There’s so much to discover that no one can just visit the country once, cross it off the list and move on. Greece is a challenge, an invitation to come back again and again and revel in all the different experiences.

What about the light? The Cyclades have been known for it since antiquity. Have you ever seen anything like it during your travels abroad?

A geologist once told me that there’s a scientific explanation for the light in the Aegean. It has to do with the large number of islands and the strong summer winds that keep humidity in check and give Aegean light its distinctive clarity. The only place that even comes close in terms of quality of light is the southmost region of Italy. As a photographer, I consider myself extremely lucky to have been born here. The light in Greece is sublime. It is such a joy to live in a country that is bathed in sunshine for more than 260 days a year.