If Prod Antzoulis did not trust his instinct within his work as his parents always taught him to, we would not have had the chance to get to know him today maybe. Prod’s journey with photography began when he was about 12 years old. It was the first time he had played with an analog camera. When he was around 16, he had decided to venture out of Dubai where he spent his childhood and he finished his senior years of school in a college close to London. Once he graduated from college, he decided to study business fashion management but keep photography as more of a hobby on the side. “My first paid job was when I had graduated from university, the summer of 2016 and it was with an Omani designer who was finishing her graduate collection at Central Saint Martins” says Prod. That was when he knew he wanted to make this profession full-time. His move back to Dubai happened the same year to rediscover his roots. Then eventually, he explored his identity as a photographer even better. And that’s where he is today! It was all sort of like a domino effect. We can’t wait to get to know Prod’s photography career that inspires us all.
A moment to remember in your career so far?
Back in October 2019, I had gotten a call from Gucci asking me for my availability to travel as they had an exciting project to discuss with me. After going over a few logistics, they explained that the following week I’d be flying to Lake Como, Italy to photograph my childhood friend Pam Nasr’s first cover story which was in collaboration with Emirates Woman. It was definitely a stepping stone for me in my career, it made me realize that my passion was finally translating the way I anticipated it to. I was able to finally say that the energy that I was sending out was being understood by these brands. We spent a full day shooting in Como, location scouting together, styling together, it felt like the days when we used to just have fun, collaborate and create art together.
What inspires you the most?
Most of my inspiration comes from the people I surrounded myself with. The relationships I have with each of my subjects play an important role in my photographs, whether they are close friends or friends of friends. It’s a lot about human connection and comfort. It’s also this sense of feeling like you can relate to others around you. There is this sense of comfort when you know someone has the same cultural background or similar upbringings. It’s definitely inspiring to share that energy.
The most exciting part is getting to work with brands that I grew up with. It literally transforms the feeling of being on set into something so surreal.
What is the most exciting aspect of fashion photography?
The most exciting part is getting to work with brands that I grew up with. It literally transforms the feeling of being on set into something so surreal. Being invited into their world and being given the opportunity to visualize and execute their pieces in the way that I see them. It also comes down to the trust and responsibility that I’m faced with, which really motivates me and helps push my boundaries. My parents always taught me to trust my instinct within my work, and being in this industry, it really allowed me to do so.
Tell us your oddest memory in your career?
In the neighborhood I grew up in Dubai, there is an incredible Chinese-inspired house. It stands out from the rest of the neighboring homes, which always left me with so many unanswered questions, I always wondered; who lives in there? What’s their story? Around December last year, I was with a close friend of mine, showing her around my old neighborhood before she departed Dubai for good. We stumbled upon the house and after telling her the story about how I would drive to school every day and see it, she asked “Why don’t we check who lives inside? Let’s ring the doorbell”. We rang the doorbell and there we were, all of a sudden inside this person’s home. The owner had been living in Dubai since the 1960s. He began to tell us his story whilst giving us a tour of his beautiful interiors. His name is Zakaraya, An Emirati business owner, originally from Palestine who is now in his early 90’s. The house was designed based on his travels to Asia, he mentioned how heavily inspired he was by the architecture there. My friend and I were so intrigued by his story that we decided to come back the following week to photograph and interview the owner to get his story published in print. It was a special moment for me and it was as if I was revisiting my childhood, and answering my younger self’s questions. The actual photos and interview are yet to be published but I can’t wait for the day that it finally is.
Tell us about your daily routine during the self-isolation days. What are you busy with these days?
My daily routine has drastically changed. As my work requires me to be outdoor most of the time, I don’t usually find myself spending so much time at home. I wouldn’t necessarily call it a routine but more so highlighting things that I enjoy doing the most. I really like to self-reflect on my mood when I wake up and just try and understand which of the tasks I set myself, I would enjoy the most today. Most days I feel the urge to express myself creatively so I enter my archive of work and start playing with ways to create new visuals. The idea for my “Behind the Scenes” video actually came about during this time. It’s a compilation of a few of my shoots from the past two years, shot by me on my VHS camcorder.
This time has also opened up new ways of inspiring myself, such as a ton of research online, and I mean hours and hours of educating myself in the field I love the most, which has always been photography. I do this by either reading books on how to improve my skill or watching a combination of movies/documentaries on a specific era I’m passionate about. In terms of offline creativity, organizing my personal archive has been the most satisfying experience so far. From going through my negative scans and making sure they are all chronologically organized, to curating my computer folders by being specific on how I store my images.
How would you define being unique?
Unique to me comes in different forms, one of which is being comfortable with yourself and with the idea of who you are. Trusting yourself, following your instincts and pushing the boundaries within your work.