Ashton Papazahariakis (b. 1992) has a Bachelor of International Studies and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from the University of Adelaide and works in foreign affairs. He reassures himself that he enjoy’s photography more and tries to spend the rest of his time taking photos, developing film, and listening to really good and diverse music at unhealthy volumes (think Air, Kiasmos, Massive Attack, Mathew Jonson, Moby and Pink Floyd et. al.).  

His mum first gifted him a Pentax Espio 35mm camera in 2003, which replaced the cardboard cameras he had been making (tripods and all). Photographers were present in his early life, particularly family friend, Alex Makeyev, whose studio he would visit at a young age. Ashton's work is strongly documentary in style and fine art. Photography had always been a tool to both record and understand his surroundings.  Growing up he would document his friends and their lives. In his late teens, he was primarily shooting buildings and urbanity; the known environment for him, one that coincided with a fascination with abandoned places and urban exploring. With time, the focus returned to people with a heavy emphasis on portraiture, that was fuelled by extensive time abroad.

His contemporary photography studies humans: who we are, why we live, where we live, how we live, and what we do. Photography enables exploration, reflection and learning; and exposes the observer (and photographer) to a culture, place or people. The photographer becomes artist and explorer and the photo art and examination. His intent is for it to be both. 

There is no strict medium, format or camera. 35mm is preferred. Ashton shoots with a Nikon F100, Fuji Work Record and a Fuji X100s, but numerous cameras have been used over the years. 

The alias Through the Glass Menagerie plays on the antiquated concept of a zoological menagerie but applies it to documentary photography; to show a strange and diverse collection of people or things [in photos]. Through the Glass Menagerie uses photography to show you life that is not your own, so you can better understand the world around you.

His photo stories are candid and expeditionary and will one day hopefully be released as photo books. They include a four-part country series (so far), “The Crane” (2017), “The Bear” (2016 - Unreleased), "The Dragon" (2015) and "The Elephant" (2013). Other projects include photo stories chronicling a 30,000KM road trip from west to east to west, titled "All Roads Lead to Gazgolder” (2016 - Unreleased), a documentation of the days leading up to the final bath of the 2013 Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, titled "Then we found Kumbh” (2013), a portraiture series titled "Our faces, weathered" (2013) and a series focused on Australiana, titled "Land girt by sea". 

“The Cult of Festavus" (2015-present), is an ongoing documentary project without a foreseeable end. The Cult of Festavus is a visual study of music festivals in Australia: the places we go to lose our minds and find ourselves. The project started during Human Movements set at Strawberry Fields, 2015 where the name came as an epiphany.  Three years and near one hundred rolls of film later the study is nearing completion. Inspired by Hunter S. Thompson,  the project is driven by GONZO journalism's methodology of energetic first-person participation. The photos are documentary, both social analysis and critique and self-satire. The collection of images, many unreleased, may form a book in 2018 - alike to a yearbook for events that are redefined each year and operate in their own time and space. Otherwise, see you at Rainbow!

 

Exhibitions

2013 - Bird Shit

Publications

2018 - Open, BLOOM Publishing (AUS) ISBN: 978-0-9925523-7-4

2017 - Faces, Self-Published

2016/17 - Eastbound and Round, Issue 007 Yewth Mag

2015 - Strange World, Self-Published 

Future projects

Ashton hopes to explore share houses; peoples possessions, sharing and positive forms of materialism, titled “Mine, too” and wants to chronicle the decline of Motels in Queanbeyan and Canberra, titled “Sleep is cheap”.