Private Practice, Immigration Lawyer, Greece
|Arts and Media|
Career Change Story
I am now an exhibiting and published photographer.
As a child I always loved framing the world around me even with my own hands, without a camera. I come from a small village and everything around me was very photogenic and weird at the same time...My village is still a source of inspiration and somewhere I love going back.
Unfortunately, I was an excellent student and it seemed quite normal to end up studying law. While a student I discovered the Photography Club of my university and that was it. Soon I became a member and I was transferring my knowledge to new members. At the same time I was teaching photography to children at Pinewood, the International Schools of Thessaloniki in 1999. My life was full of photography! Funny enough the photography club was located below the toilets of my law school. How symbolic is that?
I wanted to quit law from the first day I started studying it. I was a misfit. In 2002 I started teaching Turkish (which I had learned within 3 years). It was obvious that my law studies were of no interest to me at all...
Then, I found out about a scholarship for graduates. I could give exams and get it but I needed a degree. My plan was to graduate, practice law and keep giving the exams for the scholarship until I could get it. And so I did. I graduated, I did my training and I started working as a lawyer. Due to my elective modules at university and my language skills I focused on Immigration Law. Even in the court my mind was elsewhere: at the light coming through the windows, at the sad stories I had been confessed, at my lifeless life. I applied for the IKY scholarship as soon as I could. And I took it! Next thing I know is that I decided to come to England and do an MA in Photography. My dream was ready to be lived. I was 30.
I think that the reason why I quit law is the same that made me practice law: so as not to regret it. Through my studying and practice of law, my brain was stimulated all the time. I thought my law studies as mathematics: problem solving, reasoning. The discipline of having studied something so demanding will follow me. My MA was pretty boring and dull. Theorizing art and practicing art are two strangers. Law made me a bit cynical and realistic. I don't believe that an institute can teach you how to be an artist. I don't believe that there is justice in this world or that punishment works. I believe in prevention and I think that the best way to prevent is to provide the right education.
Career Change Reflections
At the moment I am teaching Greek at City College Brighton & Hove and delivering photography workshops on Subjective Photography in Brighton and Crete. Soon my project Traces Within will be published and I will have solo exhibitions in various countries (keep an eye on my blog and website). My life as an artist and educator is challenging. Every day is a new day where I need to apply everything I have learned in my life: to discipline, to collaborate, to communicate, to imagine and to create. I don't have a bohemian life but perhaps I have more freedom to travel around which I really love.
I cannot give any particular advice to someone who wants to quit law. Perhaps dare to do it. Our self knows what we really love and need. And this is not money; it is a daily routine that is meaningful to us.