Valérie Karakatsanis, restoring architecture to life

by Alessandra Bettoni

There is a new kind of architecture photography that differs from the traditional practice and focuses on a surrealistic way of displaying the urban setting. Cities, buildings and urbanscapes are approached according a more artistic vision which sometimes goes far beyond the mere reality, thus rendering evocative images of the surrounding architectural elements. This new photographic trend is effectively expressed in the artwork of Valérie Karakatsanis.

Valérie Karakatsanis lives in Paris and we had the chance to appreciate her inspirational photography, combining a fresh approach and a keen eye for detail, by observing her impressive images which she shares in some photographic groups. We have been so impressed and charmed by her urban vision that we have asked her to tell us something more about her work and herself as an artist. That’s the result.

@ Valérie Karakatsanis

For Valérie, the passion about photography didn’t come by chance.

Her father draws and paints beautiful paintings of Venice, a true autodidact who has an innate talent. One of her uncles, a great lover of classical music, spent his free time between photography and painting. Other members of her family have evolved through different artistic universes and she probably inherited all these artistic influences. She started drawing very young then turning to painting and since then she has always loved art in all its forms.

“It is actually somenthing that comes from the past, from my family. Photography is for me as an extension of drawing and painting. If I look at my atwork now, I believe to have been inspired by painters before any, the surrealism of Dali, Magritte, Picasso’s Cubism, Edward Hopper nostalgia and also other painters.”

“In photography, I love the universe of Garry Winogrand for its street photography, Sebastiao Salgado for his black and white, the realism, the hardness of life, Guy Bourdin for his surrealist work, offset, provocative and touching, the irony and derision pictures of Martin Parr and other photographers whose works are always a good inspiration.”

@ Valérie Karakatsanis

Her educational and artistic background, together with her previous working experience have also had a big influence on how she creates her photography. While working in the communication sector of some international companies, she decided to resume her studies to complete her educational and artistic background in France.

One day the opportunity came.

As a photographer, she likes to push her creative boundaries to create her personal urban visions, being attracted by the surrounding architectural and urban elements, which in her captures come powefully to life and are crystallized for the passing of time, always in the attempt to give a genuine emotion.

@ Valérie Karakatsanis

AMB: Valérie, it might seem a bit naif but why photography? Do you see yourself as a storyteller? Or a documentarist, trying to fix time fragments in your photographs? Or what else?

VK: Well I am just a human being who try to give an emotion through what I see…As Garry Winogrand said: “what is important, that is not the photographer but the photography…” I feel the photography as an art and a testimony of the passing of time. I just hope to give an emotion…
Everything goes very fast in this world and human beings do not have time to observe their surroundings…
Sometimes I go for a walk and when I see an arch, an architectural element, I take a picture, it may not seem good to the one who accompanies me at that moment, so I imagine to restore life of this element of architecture that people do not seem to see or simply perceive it without any beauty.

@ Valérie Karakatsanis

AMB: How did you come to Architecture and Urbanscape?

VK: I have always been fascinated by the architecture, the various structures, the buildings, the skyscrapers, the industry, the construction, the raw material, the fact to build thus to create…it is the genius of the creation that I like through the architecture…
It is also the geometry, angles, curves, lines, it represents us as human being, we are made by all this geometry and we evolve through it…

@ Valérie Karakatsanis

AMB: Are you planning your shooting or are you attracted by everything you see when you get it?

VK: I love photographing architecture, urban, people and I love to travel to explore new places. I can check out the locations beforehand and for others I just let myself be carried along by what I discover on site. Most of the time, I prefer to go on a reconnaissance mission.
 However, the light changes all the time, so I can stay a long time in the same place to shoot with different lights.

In conclusion Valérie, we’d like to thank you for your kind availability to have this lovely chat. We see, you mostly shoot in Paris and London, have you ever thought about some Italian cities as the next setting for your shooting?  This is an invitation for you to come and an opportunity for us to appreciate your vision of Italy in some of your next lovely work. Thank you!


Valérie Karakatsanis is a french photographer and graphic designer. She has been working in the communication sector of some international companies. She has graduated from the school of Design and Applied Arts in Paris, she attended additional trainings in graphic design and photography at the School of Image (Gobelins) and also evening classes at the Ecole du Louvre. She is a freelancer and you can see much of her work or get in touch by visiting her Facebook page and her website.



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