Photographer Alexia Liakounakou shifts her focus from nudes and bedroom portraits to apartment towers and streetscapes.

Photographer Alexia Liakounakou shifts her focus from nudes and bedroom portraits to apartment towers and streetscapes.

Photographer Alexia Liakounakou’s professional work explores intimate situations, capturing unguarded moments in people’s bedrooms or portraits of reclining nudes. She’s interested in the relationship between public and private, and takes her camera into personal spaces where the world isn’t usually allowed to pry.

Pieces Of Me asks photographers to share a personal project or images that usually go unseen and explain why they’re deeply personal to them, or perhaps different to their other work.

Alexia’s new side project, first inspired by the austere architecture of East Berlin, sees her focussing on apartment buildings and exteriors, streetscapes and communal areas, to snatch glimpses of human life from a distance.

Pieces Of Me #3

by Alexia Liakounakou

“I took a trip to Berlin, two years ago. Suddenly, this click happened. I started becoming extremely fascinated by buildings. Tall ones, industrial-looking ones, as well as old cars and other automobiles. I was especially magnetised by the austere seriousness of the architecture in East Berlin.

I started imagining things. Older times. Then, there was this odd-looking 1920s bicycle someone rode down a street near the Neues Museum, which totally transported me to another era. I somehow always get drawn into comparing the old with the new. I like imagining the past.

This craze with buildings and other urban ‘material’ stayed with me; I returned to Athens, my hometown, and took photos of the streets I had once walked, as a child and as an adult, but they were suddenly new to me. I created a tumblr blog, Athens Walks (which is now incorporated into a new blog, called Languorous Eye) and all these photos ended up in there.

Now that I’ve moved to London, I catch myself photographing the streets I explore while walking all the time. The underlying question behind all this is probably “What is this place? Where am I?” – funny as it sounds.

I suppose that, ultimately, these photos are my way of trying to decode my surroundings. I am the sort of person who will get hit by a car because I’m staring at a building – unconsciously framing it - while crossing the street. I wish I could play the flaneur with a bit more grace than that, but it’s impossible for me not to get distracted when so much interesting beauty – ugly or beautiful – exists around me. So, my answers are, I guess, all about finding beauty.

A big difference in this body of work is that it is mostly ‘informal’. I use my phone more often than not, though I wish I hadn’t, because my camera is too heavy to carry around everywhere. I can’t hold my groceries and have the heavy machine dangling off my neck. It hurts. Perhaps this informality and the fact that it is so impulsive – it’s literally a reflex – has made it somehow important to me, and more personal. It comes without thinking it over.

I am a photographer because I can’t imagine not being one anymore. It’s become like an extension of myself – this damned thing. Is all photography personal? I think so. Since the camera is like the language of your brain processing the world, I can’t imagine how any photo can’t be somehow personal. I suppose there are layers to that. Commissioned work may be less so, in that less freedom is involved, but it’s still you pressing the button when you feel the timing, the angle, and the light is right. You also come into a sort of communication with the object, subject, person, group, or landscape. How is that not personal, or at least interpersonal?

Alexia Liakounakou splits her time between London and Athens, as a freelance photographer, editor at Makeshift Magazine and research student of Anthropology at UCL. Find out more about her work or grab a copy of her photobook Insides.