Interviews

Interview with: Cassandra Tzortzoglou

Cassandra Tzortzoglou is a fine-art photographer whose work explores narratives inspired by her relationship to nature, childhood memories, folklore tales and visions seen in meditation. For this feature, Cassandra has very kindly agreed to let us publish her recent series Natural Phenomena II…

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How did you first get started in photography? What is it about this medium that appeals to you as an artist?
I was lucky enough to be enrolled in the Arts from a very young age. I began as a gymnast and dancer, gradually discovering photography in Year 10 at high school. My best friends were dedicated artists, and we spent our lunchtimes practicing our crafts. After getting into ‘Top Designs’ in Year 12, I focused on the medium of photography.
I think photography is a very powerful tool; it gives me the opportunity to reflect and express myself no matter where I am. It has the ability to travel with me wherever I go; most of my Instagram posts are shot on my iPhone. Photography can be whatever you want it to be, and that’s why I am in love with the craft.

I think photography is a very powerful tool; it gives me the opportunity to reflect and express myself no matter where I am.

Who or what are your main sources of inspiration?
My immediate surroundings. I live near the Dandenong Ranges, east of Melbourne, and I grew up with a holiday house on the Mornington Peninsula. I take long walks in nature (forest/beach/hikes), and most of my inspiration comes to me during that time. I travel often, visiting my family in Greece, as well as attending a photography festival called ‘Obscura’ in Malaysia on a yearly basis. Although, studying at Photography Studies College has been my biggest influence as an artist so far.

What do you do to keep challenging yourself creatively?
Collaborating with artists in Melbourne on a regular basis, touching base with my old teachers from Photography Studies College for advice and feedback, and visiting my friends in Malaysia at the Obscura Festival of Photography each August. Staying grounded and focused is also key – intimidation kills my creativity.

Tell us about the Natural Phenomena II series that we are featuring here; what are the inspirations behind the series and what do you want the viewer to take away from it?
This series was my final body of work that I created in my graduate year (2015). It came together organically, with help from my teachers and mentors. I also self-published the series as a book.
It explores my relationship and interaction with nature, a journey of self-reflection and discovery. I was influenced by artists such as Diana Lui, Carine Thevenau, Yayoi Kusama, Katrin Koenning, Hoda Afshar, Ying Ang and Daniel Boetker-Smith.
I want the viewer to feel a sense of enchantment and curiosity; I want the images to speak a language, to take the viewer into another dimension or universe.

Staying grounded and focused is also key – intimidation kills my creativity.

What has been the high point of your photography career so far?
There have been many, but if I had to single out a period, I would say my graduate year – especially after the Obscura Festival in August of 2015; I learnt a lot about myself and my intentions for the future. I took part in the Diana Lui Masterclass, creating a short film that led me to my project and ideas for Natural Phenomena II.

What is next for you; are you currently working on any photographic projects that you can tell us about?
I am travelling to Europe in June, where I am hoping to continue to work on my ongoing project ‘Natural Phenomena’. Upon graduating, and over the summer, I have been researching Greek Mythology, with hope to create new work during my travels. ‘Natural Phenomena’ will be a project I will work on for years to come.

See more of Cassandra’s work at:

Website / Instagram / Facebook

All images copyright Cassandra Tzortzoglou.

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