Daimon Xanthopoulos x LUMIX S1
“Over the past decade, I’ve been photographing sacred sites and places known from mythologies, sagas and ancient beliefs throughout Europe and Africa. These sacred places, hidden in mountainous areas, in forests and along ancient rivers have been important through many generations and still possess a unique air of mysticism. I want to discover what makes them so significant and how they connect to us through religions, rituals and cultural celebrations. I find these places with the support of local people and communities who still use and protect them. I try to capture their atmosphere and portray their role in rituals and today’s societies, to respect and display their sacredness and most of all their mystic beauty.
After Europe and Africa, I was drawn to the sacredness of Hawaii. These volcanic regions in the middle of the Atlantic ocean possess beliefs as ancient as the islands themselves. I want to explore the overwhelming forces of nature that are at the heart of their mythologies and islands and how people coexist with them harmoniously. The active and dormant volcanos across the islands are home to many deities and intertwined with their stories. These forces of nature alter their physical landscape everyday and one can understand the deep respect the Hawaiians feel for such powerful elements. These tall, sacred peaks, such as the Mauna Kea mountain, were used by Polynesian Pathfinders, who would study the stars from atop this 4,000-metre-high dormant volcano. Visible celestial bodies were used to navigate to other civilisations across the wide Atlantic ocean. I wanted to capture these mystic skies because, in combination with the sacred sites, they offer an insight into not only an ancient culture, but a culture that still prevails today, however hidden. I feel privileged to visit and photograph these sacred mountains, their sacred valleys and hidden pools or miracle trees with my camera. My goal is to translate these places into images that widen our respect and understanding, but most of all our connection to them.
Having a camera that can capture the magic of these places without any compromise in quality, durability, or flexibility gives me the opportunity to really focus on my creativity and story. It’s important to be able to trust your camera and feel confident that it will deliver your vision no matter the conditions. I love the fact that I can switch between making photography and creating 4K 60P video films all inside the S1 camera. Also the 4K HDR video mode (HLG) gives me new creative opportunities and make my films ready for the future. These high end technologies give me the opportunity to be flexible in my approach and choose the best way to visualise my story. Whether I want to photograph a scene with lots of details, create an impressive portrait of the amazing people or make a short 4K 60P film, on the traditions of Hula, the camera assists me without compromise.”
Since the year 2000, Daimon Xanthopoulos has dedicated himself to documenting stories he believes need to be told. Photography is a unique way to communicate because it’s not bound by language, and this allows him to focus on social issues, injustice and human rights, as well as the plight of people, especially children, in the aftermath of conflict. The photos can be disturbing, bearing witness, often eliciting an emotional response, but at the same time they can be artistically beautiful. “In my work,” he explains, “I always try to combine these elements and so connect people to the themes I visualize.”
View more of his photos on LUMIX Ambassador gallery