I finally did another B&W film some days ago; it had been sitting in my fridge looking at me for far too long. I hadn’t touched my vat, chemicals and spools in almost three years, either, film and developer sitting there with an expiration date years before even then.

Who says great photographs can’t come from “expired” consumables?

It was after the Spotters Weekend was over, which is where I had spent the majority of the roll. I had just a couple left to round off the complete thirty-six plus the one or two extras at the end and couldn’t think of what to shoot last to get done with it. I took a couple of selfies and prepared my developing gear.

I was sitting there in my bathroom, all sources of light blocked, tools “arranged” in front of me – or, if you prefer honest descriptions, lying around in a way I had to feel around for them every time I needed to switch one. I started by trying to, as you would, unwind the film onto the spool which would be used as its case to neatly bathe it into the developer, but I just couldn’t get the roll to fit in right. Something jammed, the film wouldn’t be picked up by the lever and it wouldn’t unwind. I must have been struggling there blind for what must have been more than 45 minutes for something that in the hands of someone who “knows what they’re doing” wouldn’t take more than 5 at most.

By that time, I could feel that I had almost ruined the edge of the film and the last pictures of the roll by all the bending and creasing I had submitted it to. I knew that force wouldn’t cut it (I could fit some pun here if I tried hard enough), but I was getting a tiny bit desperate.

I considered bailing: turning on the bathroom light and instantly burning the pictures white with light forever. At least that way I would escape that limbo between art and frustration, sitting there in the darkness getting nowhere.

If you’re waiting for some dramatic turn of events, there wasn’t one, but indeed it was a turn that saved me. I just tried twisting half the spool while holding it vertically instead of horizontally, and that somehow did the trick. Relieved, I winded the film into the spool, placed it into the tank, turned on the lights and proceeded with development.

A few hours later, this turned out to be the last shot of the roll.


I’ll admit I’m quite happy with how I look in this picture, but what I love are the chaotic, random little blemishes that pepper it from my mishandling it. Together they make for quite a unique selfie, and a selfie it is alright, clumsy self-inflicted marks and all. It just wouldn’t be the same if it had come out “perfect”. In  fact, the way it’s come out (just look at the right of my head, the contour of the… what is that anyway?) I think it is superior* in every way apart from visual fidelity I suppose.

At the very least it’s a happy accident. In chaos we trust – which is just The Flow dressed up in its cool black suede suit.

Some more highlights from that roll, in case you’re interested.

*Film photography is, in my mind at least, being slowly relegated to what painting and drawing turned into after film photography itself was invented: an art form formerly used for picture perfection now rendered obsolete by some newer technology – in this case digital photography. You could say that painting was liberated and all kinds of artistic breakthroughs were had only after photography was invented and artists didn’t have to portray their subjects in any kind of technically immaculate way anymore – that would be the photographer’s job from then on. Similarly, free from the requirement that it should mainly display things “the way they really are” – we have phones and mirrorless cameras now for that – film photography can now be safely re-examined as a separate medium with its own specific physical limitations and artistic advantages. Like painting.



4/11/’16 – PAK TIKKA


Pak Tikka
Pak Tikka

Σήμερα πήγα σε ένα πακιστανικό εστιατόριο στο κέντρο, δίπλα στη Βαρβάκειο, με την Sanne και τον Bart για το pre-weekend lunch. 3 μερίδες, μια σαλάτα και 3 chabati 11€. “You don’t want to know how much we would have to pay in The Netherlands for authentic Indian food” μου είπε η Sanne.

Ποτέ δεν είχα πάει σε πακιστανικό εστιατόριο στην Αθήνα.






Αύριο και το Σάββατο θα είναι το Spotters Weekend 2016, η διεθνής συνάντηση του Spotted by Locals  που γίνεται κάθε 2 χρόνια. Φέτος θα γίνει στην Αθήνα, φαντάζομαι (και) επειδή οι ιδιοκτήτες και εμπνευστές του site μετακόμισαν πέρσι στην Αθήνα από το Αμστελόδαμο (παλιός εξελληνισμός του Amsterdam).

Με τη Sanne και τον Bart, το ζευγάρι αυτό των Ολλανδών, έχουμε συνεργαστεί πολύ καλά και φέτος, εκτός από το ότι θα συμμετάσχω για πρώτη φορά από τότε που ξεκίνησα να είμαι Spotter, τους βοηθάω με τη διοργάνωση. Κλείνω τραπέζια σε ταβέρνες, σουβλατζίδικα, κάβες με πολλά καλούδια, κάλεσα τον πολύ αγαπητό και ταλαντούχο Σταύρο Συμεωνίδη για την εικαστική κάλυψη, και στήσαμε βέβαια το walk με τους 5 ξεναγούς μας – τον Θανάση, ο οποίος κατέληξε μετά την πρώτη μας συνάντηση να μου πουλήσει το ποδήλατο του (πολλοί ανωστρεφείς αντίχειρες), την Ειρήνη, την street art expert ψυχολόγα μας, τον Ορέστη, τον τρελάρα συμφοιτητή από τη Μυτιλήνη, την Atenista Νάντια και την γευσιγνώστρια-ηθοποιό μας Κατερίνα. Αυτοί θα είναι οι ξεναγοί που αγκυροβολημένοι σε σημεία-κλειδιά θα μυήσουν τους 105 καλεσμένους μας από 51 πολείς στα μυστικά της Αθήνας.

Η διοργάνωση του weekend έχει πάρει αρκετό από τον χρόνο μου τους τελευταίους μήνες – ήδη είχα ξεκινήσει τη δουλειά από τον Αύγουστο, αρκετές εβδομάδες πριν απολυθώ από τον στρατό- αλλά είμαι ενθουσιασμένος για όλα αυτά και ανυπομονώ να τους γνωρίσω όλους και να περάσουμε αξέχαστα. Πολλά ευχαριστώ στον Νίκο Παλαβατσίνη της Κιμωλίας, συνάδερφο Spotter, χωρίς τη βοήθεια του οποίου δεν θα είχα καταφέρει να βρω σημαντικό μέρος της ομάδας μου για το weekend.

Κάτι άλλο: το Youtube και ο άβολα έξυπνος αλγόριθμος δημιουργίας playlist του μετά τους Red Sparowes με έστειλε στους Pelican, σε αυτό τον δίσκο που λινκάρω παραπάνω και παρακάτω. Όλα τα comments έλεγαν για το πόσο καλά ακούγεται σε ταχύτητα 1.5x, και είχαν δίκιο. Δοκιμάστε κι εσείς τον πειραματισμό με τη μουσική και την ανακάλυψη νέων τρόπων αναπαραγωγής που μας επιτρέπει η HTML5.




Το περίπτερο δίπλα στα Starbucks στην πλατεία, που θέλω να το κάνω και Spotted σύντομα, έχει μισόλιτρα μπουκάλια FIX και Βεργίνα με 1€.

Επιστρέφοντας τα μπουκάλια σε σούπερ μάρκετ σου επιστρέφονται 0,14€.

Μπουκάλι μπύρα με 86 λεπτά. Όχι κι άσχημα. Θυμίζει τιμές Βουλγαρίας. Αν και στη Βουλγαρία με λίγα περισσότερα χρήματα (περίπου 2,40lv = 1,2€) παίρνεις 2λιτρη Καμενίτσα.

Αλλά είμαστε στη ΝΣ, καλώς κακώς. Βίβες!



National Geographic? Pshhh, done that already.

Even if it’s a small, rather insignificant contributor post on Athens with answers to stock questions!

It’s hard to find someone who appreciates Athens more than Dimitris Hall. Though he has lived in the Greek capital nearly all of his life, this local’s appreciation for his hometown has grown over time.

Though Athens seems to live in the shadow of its long history, Dimitris is on a mission to suss out city surprises, both new and old. Lucky for us, as he digs up new discoveries, he shares them with the world on the Spotted by Locals blog. Here are a few of his favorite things about the place he calls home.

Athens Is My City

When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them is to Areios Pagos, a hill right below the Acropolis of Athens that offers a fantastic view of the entire city and its western suburbs.

For the best view of Athens (and a healthy does of ancient history), head to the Acropolis. (Photograph by oligator83, Flickr)
For the best view of Athens (and a healthy does of ancient history), head to the Acropolis. (Photograph by oligator83, Flickr)


May and June are the best times to visit my city because the weather is ideal for exploring Athens and partaking in outdoor adventures.

You can see my city best from the Acropolis, as well as from the hills and mountains that surround it—namely Ymittos, Parnitha, and Pendeli.

Locals know to skip the touristy Greek restaurants and to check out the authentic eateries in Petralona and Koukaki—like To Pagaki and Pleiadesinstead.

Apostolou Pavlou, the pedestrian street in Athens’s Thissio neighborhood that leads to the Acropolis, is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs.

In the past, notable people like philosopher Socrates, opera singer Maria Callas, and filmmaker Theodoros Angelopoulos have called my city home.

My city’s best museum is the National Archaeological Museum because you can find a rich overview of Greek civilization from the beginnings of Prehistory to Late Antiquity. These time periods are not only important to the people of Greece; they helped shape the world.

If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s that you can reach any part of Athens by using the mass transit network, which includes the metro, buses, and trams. Using the city’s public transportation website (which is available in English) in combination with Google Maps will get you far. Also, check out the Athens Transport blog.

See the "Jockey of Artemision," a bronze statue dating to the second century B.C., and more at the National Archaeological Museum. (Photograph by clairity, Flickr)
See the “Jockey of Artemision,” a bronze statue dating to the second century B.C., and more at the National Archaeological Museum. (Photograph by clairity, Flickr)


The best place to spend time outdoors in my city is in a café or bar located in prime people-watching territory, be it day or night. Try Tyflomyga.

My city really knows how to celebrate Orthodox Easter because of the sheer number of churches in Athens and the richness of the traditions surrounding the holiday, which include epitaphios processions, fireworks, and special dishes.

You can tell if someone is from my city if they cross the road while the light is still red.

For a fancy night out, I go to the bars in the center of the city around Monastiraki Square.

Just outside my city, you can visit the forest on Mount Parnitha.

Kimolia Art Café is my favorite place to grab breakfast, and 24οro is the spot for late-night eats.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, check out the events listing on the Athens Walker blog. If you can read Greek, seek out Athinorama.

The best outdoor market in my city is in the area around Monastiraki Square.

Best market? Head to Monastiraki Square. (Photograph by raulvillalon, Flickr)
Best market? Head to Monastiraki Square. (Photograph by raulvillalon, Flickr)


When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I grab beers from the periptero (newspaper kiosk) with friends and enjoy the open air, preferably around Exarcheia or Areios Pagos.

To escape the crowds, I go to Peonia and have some tea to relax.

The dish that represents my city best is souvlaki (grilled meat skewers), and tsipouro is my city’s signature drink. Sample them at Kosta’s Souvlaki near Syntagma for a truly classic taste and Beduin at Gazi in Kerameikos, respectively.

Six D.O.G.Sis the best place to see live music, but if you’re in the mood to dance, check out Bios.

Demonstrations, traffic diversions, and the closing of multiple metro stations every couple of weeks for “security reasons” could only happen in my city.

In the spring you should walk down small neighborhood streets to smell the blooming orange trees, jasmine, and acacias.

Summer must: Visiting the islands in the Argo-Saronic Gulf, which includes Poros (above). (Photograph by visitgreecegr, Flickr)
Summer must: Visiting the islands in the Argo-Saronic Gulf, which includes Poros (above). (Photograph by visitgreecegr, Flickr)


In the summer you should enjoy the warm Athenian nights and head for the nearby beaches and islands on the Argosaronic Gulf.

In the fall you should check out the Athens International Film Festival and participate in the Athens Marathon.

In the winter you should visit Mount Parnitha or curl up with a glass of rakomelo, honey-flavored alcohol.

If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss the Hellenic Children’s Museum or the Attica Zoological Park.

Why the world should heart Athens: “It’s ancient, but groundbreaking; ugly, but inspiring; stressful, but lively. It’s a city at the forefront of the 21st century.”


Spotted by Locals Interview with De Volkskrant

A journalist for a Dutch newspaper wanted to do a write-up on Athens. She found me through Spotted by Locals and I volunteered to answer some questions… This is the result:


AAIMx4WajSVy8ymw6MPPC3_rmATED_pYGq3L0Xr3uP1iZA My name is in there and I can curiously understand a fair amount of the article – thanks, German – but the whole picture, apart from “cheap is cool” (something I support whole-heartedly of course) eludes me.

Still, nice. Thanks, Spotted by Locals!


I’m A Spotter!


It’s been news for some time now that I’ve started working for Spotted by Locals, but seeing that I just finished my first round of articles and that I had neglected to post about it until now, I thought that this would be a good time to share the links to my work.

Spotted By Locals is a site whose ideals and goal are rather self-explanatory: have locals from all over the world write about their favourite places in their hometown and help make them known to people who have never visited before. It’s a decentralised travel guide to the awesome places, aiming for the sense of familiarity and wonder you get when you CouchSurf with someone and they show and take you to all the spots they love in their city.

My first contact with them was when I wrote them last year applying to be a Spotter. Back then they politely refused my offer, telling me that they were not in not need of any new ones but reassuring me that whenever they’d require fresh blood they’d contact me. So they did: in March I received an e-mail from the couple running the site, Sanne and Bart, in which they were getting back to me on my application. I did a test article, they seemed to like it and sure enough, next thing I knew, I had become a Spotter!

My main starting obligation as one was to post 20 articles within 6 weeks, a goal I reached just yesterday (right on time too). Here are the links for these first 20 articles.

La Bella Fornarina – Top-quality bakery
– Retro mode in Eksarheia
Mousiko Kafeneio
– The neighbourhood bar
Rema Pikrodafnis – Athenian wilderness
Beduin at gazi – Weathered wood
Shisha Coffee – For your oriental fix
The Wee Dram – The Scottish pub of Athens
Eugenides Digital Planetarium – Across the universe
Danaos Cinema – Moviegoing in Panormou
HBH Coffee Bar – Classy and loungy
Amin’s Falafel – The (falafel) prince of Persia
The Artist – Art café-bar
To Pagaki – Communally-run mezedes and tsipouro
Alsos Neas Smyrnis – Your lovely neighbourhood park
Peonia – An infusion of Zen in the old town
Psyrra – Up for some rakomelo?
Playce – I’d like to play a game
Pnyx – Chilling like the ancients
Parko Eleftherias – Picnic time in the oasis
Yperokeanio – Sailing in a sea of tsipouro