Costas Coutayar (born in Greece, 1959)
In the history of Greek photography Costas Coutayar is quite typical of his generation. He left Greece at the age of 18 for England during a difficult period for his country.
His father was a sculptor whom had often advised his son not to study the fine arts, but Coutayar followed his instincts and the city of London became a revelation for him, as much for it's music as for it's arts.
His return to Greece at the start of the 1980's, coincided with the creation of several important advertising agencies in the country. He started to work in the multi-national agency BBDO, where he worked for 2 years as a graphic artist. In the middle of the 80's he became one of the youngest art directors at the agency.
However, his desire to break away from the limits and constraints of his clients drove Coutayar to find new ways of looking at Greek fashion photography.
It was for this reason that he took up position behind the viewfinder and started to combine his love for style, graphics, life and of course photography.
For 22 years Coutayar has contributed many fashion shots for Vogue, Marie Claire, L'Officiel, as well as for his own men's publication Status. He has also worked with international models on advertising campaigns for Davidoff, Staff, Karelia, etc.
Always sure of the final result, his ideas are innovative and the ambience and composition of the shots give his pictures a unique feel.
Self-critical, Coutayar will talk with you constantly about the difficulty of being a good professional. According to him, there are no bad photographers; it is just that some do not know how to be as professional as others.
Coutayar is a person who looks you straight in the eyes, and who is always trying to win your confidence. He believes in people and in their inner strength, and he believes in the younger generation.
It is for this reason he has created an agency for young professionals, in Athens called Smile, with the aim of helping photographers take on the world of fashion, he says smiling. In 3 years, Smile has become a reference for all of the Greek press by working with names like: Madame Figaro, Elle, Marie Claire, Vogue, Women, Klik, Nitro, Max.
One day in the month of May, we followed Coutayar during a photo session in an ice-cream factory. It was as cold as could have been expected, but he was still able to create an atmosphere despite the room being at -15°C!
He constantly motivated his team and suggested ideas to the stylists. He himself changed the hairstyles of his models. He broke the ice in the true sense of the word.
Fashion and advertising are a pretext for Coutayar to tell of his motivation to capture the beauty of the image. His office in Athens is not that well lit, something that would not be expected from a city in the south. The Art Deco objects from Parisian markets mix perfectly with the computer screens in his spirit of the bourgeois bohème.
He could be in Paris or London, but he cannot live in the cold. It is for this reason that he loves to travel, to bring back pictures for his own album of souvenirs and not for reporting (after the interview he was already preparing his bags to go to Yemen).
He insists: I could never photograph real life, like a news photographer, but I can always create an imaginary situation based on real-life.
For example, I could not photograph a woman in tears in the street, but I could recreate the image to sell a make-up removal cream.
Courtayar is a professional who finds solutions for the advertising agencies as well as for the creative department.
However he stays, above all, a lover of beauty in all its states.
You can see this in his choice of clothes, the decoration of his office and above all in his photographs.
It is now your turn to enjoy the world of Costas Coutayar with FineArtTv.