Alkis Konstantinidis

Alkis Konstantinidis

Based
Athens, Greece
Born
Thessaloniki, Greece
Status
Reuters photographer
“A good picture will always be the backbone of a good story.”

Beat

General news, daily life, sports.

One Shot

. Athens, Greece. Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis
A pensioner (centre) is squeezed as she waits outside a National Bank branch to receive part of her pension in Athens, Greece.
“My favorite picture taken for Reuters was in the first days after the government imposed capital controls in June 2015, when dozens of pensioners who did not have ATM cards lined up outside banks to receive part of their pension. In one of the main branches of the National Bank of Greece, pensioners gathered from 5 a.m. to try and beat the queue when the bank opened. When the doors opened, panicked pensioners rushed towards the main door, pushing each other. For a few seconds the woman is the picture was squeezed so much she almost asphyxiated. It was a really sad moment and gave a clear insight into the country’s troubles.”

Profile

My earliest memory of photography is when I was five years old, browsing through 100-year-old black-and-white family photos for hours. I used to imagine the stories of these relatives I would never meet.

I started to learn about photography when I was 15. From then I spent most of my time taking pictures and reading about photography.

I wanted to become a photographer to make others feel as I did when I was five, looking at a picture and trying to unveil the story behind it.

My first assignment was in 2009, before I joined Reuters, at the porous border between Greece and Turkey to cover the influx of migrants. Meeting people who had dared to leave everything behind for a better future was a really worthwhile experience. Among the long-lasting memories was sleeping in a freezing cold room inside a warehouse.

The financial crisis in Greece is an ongoing story that I have covered since the start of my career. Inevitably the financial and social effects appeared in my life too. When I was walking around Athens for my daily coverage, I saw the uncertainty and the fear of the unknown in people’s eyes. Increasingly I heard people walking on their own, talking to themselves. At the same time, I had to produce pictures showing their anger and despair. Walking the city streets for hours started to weigh on me psychologically.

The stories that most excite me are those touching on social issues - the kind of assignments that can offer a glimpse into mankind’s inner world.

As photojournalists we contribute to the visual knowledge of people, allowing them to get a feeling for a situation occurring far away from them.

The biggest lesson I have learned is to be real and commit to what makes you feel complete. It might be an idea, a person, your work… but this process will make you a better person, whatever the outcome.

Behind the Scenes

. Athens, Greece. Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis
Alkis Konstantinidis wears a gas mask amid violent protests in Athens' Syntagma Square in 2011 after Greece's parliament approved unpopular austerity measures.