Behind the hazy charms of Constantine Tsapaliras' visual cocktail
Formed back in 2010, Carpark magazine is a visual cocktail of emerging photographers and slick fashion shoots. Masterminded by photographer and curator, Constantine Tsapaliras, the magazine runs short on words - the focus almost entirely skewed towards the visual. From challenging the beauty norm with Edith Bergfors in her work "Decries" to an excerpt from "acid tongued Glamazon" blogger Coco LaVerne, flicking through the magazine's back catalogue it becomes apparent that no two pages are ever quite the same.
Opening with a quaint list of tracks to accompany the magazine from Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Way Home" to The Ronettes "Be My Baby", it's hard not to be instantly charmed by Carpark's latest issue. For Issue 6, Constantine's hazed-out shoot "A Trip To Cult Mountain" features our own Peckham week alumni, Suren Seneviratne aka My Panda Shall Fly alongside Mario Zoots' mashed-up images and a spread from another Dazed favourite, Synchrodogs.
Here, Dazed speaks to Constantine about his hopes for Carpark's future and why collaboration is key to the magazine's inspiration.
Dazed Digital: Tell us about your photography background?
Constantine Tsapaliras: I fell in love with magazines from a very young age, my grandma was an artist and insisted I draw as often as possible, discovering my Dad’s photo collection from his country-wide trips. This all pushed me to spend all my money buying film and shooting from very early-on.
Later in college, camera constantly in tow, I ended up among the fashion crowd, becoming assistant to a fashion photographer, enjoying the whole lifestyle around it. I guess I was waiting for an excuse to get out of academia ultimately and pursue photography which eventually happened – my lucky break came unexpectedly quick and soon I was a regular contributor to fashion magazines.
DD: How did Carpark come about?
Constantine Tsapaliras: When I moved to my last studio, the part-time caretaker of the artists’ complex was a printer who very kindly offered to let me use his machines. "Magazine!" had already flashed into my head before he'd finished offering me it.
I was always thinking about printing my most experimental work, thinking it would gain another dimension, eventually siding with Daido Moriyama here and adopting the stance that I enjoy the printed images far more than my best darkroom prints.
By that point I'd moved past the point of simply creating my own work, curating and collecting other people's work was a big part of my enjoyment and development. But even as recently as four years ago, very few magazines existed that combined art and fashion photography in a wholesome and integral way and even fewer that were doing it in a natural, non-showy way and I thought "Why not? Let’s do it!".
DD: Is there an overarching ethos behind the magazine?
Constantine Tsapaliras: There are no agendas. We love the visual environment - trying to keep it as simple and light-footed as possible, a bit raw at times but in a humble way. Although we try to avoid getting mixed up in the eternal question of what is art and what isn't, we do believe that art is the "lab" where ideas and concepts are shaped and where extreme passion for what you're doing is part of the formula. On the other hand, photography can be more applied, hence bringing the two together, but in a relevant, positive way, we hope. There has to be a flow, ultimately.
DD: What inspires you all within the Carpark team?
Constantine Tsapaliras: I guess music and sunshine is the kick and poke to get you started and carry on. But the magazine is more, much more than you, the one individual. By definition it’s team work and collaborators that are everything. Starting a magazine is all about being challenged and challenging others. So yeah, you do carry your own baggage but in the end inspiration comes from the collaborators and contributors. I guess this is one more domain where you guys are the number one – the quality of your team which in turn attracts more quality collaborators.
DD: What’s next for Carpark and your own personal projects?
Constantine Tsapaliras: I really want to consolidate and establish a long-term team. For this issue art director and graphic designer Jeremy Schorderet and stylist (also designer and director) Celia Arias were key figures. I'd like to gradually add more people. Hopefully (here I need to shout out loud!) collaborate with other creatives from publications or other industries and why not, directly with other magazines. Yeah, my dream is us as a magazine, to collaborate with other magazines with the same core values but separate and distinct execution – that would be a very positive experience. On a more personal note I will be continuing with exhibitions, editorials and commercial work of my own.