Under The Influence of Dirty Harrry

Under The Influence of Dirty Harrry

Under the Influence of Dirty Harrry


Street Photography, like other photographic and artistic communities, has been propelled into popularity because many members embrace the “give and take” mentality. They reciprocate. We share our images and then we take the criticism. We take the adoration. We take the tips, the help. And in the best scenario, we give back. We provide criticism, help, knowledge, and, maybe even inspiration. Few photographers have “given” as much to street photography as Charalampos Kydonakis has.

Who is Dirty Harrry

Kydonakis, otherwise known as Dirty Harrry is the proprietor of the Dirty Blog and he has not only given us access to his great work, but also provided a gateway to the work of other great photographers. You won’t find tips or tricks, but you will find a treasure trove of inspiration. Masters you may be familiar with and photographers you’ve never heard of. It’s a feast for the eyes.

“You’ll notice my blog is about showing photos and not a lot about my opinion of the work or the photographers. I just want to show photos. I get bored reading too much. For instance, I don’t care to read about tips. Photography is about images. I don’t care if the photographer is famous or not,”

Kydonakis said in an interview on Leica Liker blog.

“I began with a Flickr account to post my work. But I wanted to really show my work. At the same time, I was looking at a lot of photos from other photographers. And I would come across photographic diamonds. I discovered so many good things that I want to share it. I want to see these gems again and again because they are inspirational to me. So I decided to present their work in my blog along with my own images.”

But Dirty Harrry’s generosity as a curator is not the most inspiring thing he has to offer. Dirty Harrry is one very, very badass photographer.

Dirty Harrry has been making noise in the street photography for the better part of a decade. According to an interview done with Bellamy Hunt at Japan Camera Hunter, Dirty Harrry has mostly shot street since 2008, finding inspiration looking at Magnum Photos. “I wanted to start telling stories about the human theater around me, ” Kydonakis said.

And what amazing stories he has to tell.

A review of his “dirty photos” on his website is a trip that veers into surrealism. Dirty Harrry is more than a street photographer, he’s an artist, giving us visual delicacies that often need more than a casual glance to digest. His full-on flash blasts, multiple exposures and imaginative compositions are not your normal storytelling. Honestly, to try and sum up Dirty Harrry’s style with words is an impossible task.

However, Kydonakis has said his images are more than adventures into surrealism. In an interview on Leica Liker blog, Dirty Harrry said,  “My images may seem surreal but it is my effort to interpret reality. What I mean is, you see something real and then you give metamorphosis to it. If there is no metamorphosis, then you are just documenting life. Documentation is somehow objective and I want it to be subjective. I want to tell my story. I’m not interested in documenting life.”

Dirty Harrry gathers up life through his lens, but in a way so very different from other photographers I’ve researched. Though we’re on the same planet, his world is very much different than ours.

An architect by day, Charalampos Kydonakis resides in Rethymnon, Crete. I urge you to check out his site if you’re not already familiar..

Dirty Harrry

How did he influence me?

Like I mentioned before, summing up Dirty Harrry’s style is a seemingly impossible task. Saying it’s frenzied, unhinged and surreal may be appropriate, but that world hardly do his body of work justice. You can pick up hints of his influences. The fact that Dirty Harrry doesn’t limit himself to candid street photography and street portraits only aids in the inability to pigeonhole him.

The bottom line is, Charalampos  Kyodnakis shoots what he wants to and how he wants to. But most importantly, to me, he embraces the confusion I wrestle with all the time.

“The more I shoot, the more I realize what I want from photography and at the same time the more I get confused about what i want …”

That’s the “about” section on his Dirty Blog.

It feels good to know I’m not alone in this confusion. To have a photographer so much more talented than myself put it into a few simple words.

The pressure to do something “meaningful” or a “project” is huge, and we exert it on ourselves because it’s what seems to be a logical progression. That you have to graduate from hobbyist to whatever the next level may be. Well, maybe that doesn’t apply to you, but I know I’ve put that pressure on myself.


As I grow as a photographer, I find myself more confused than ever. Confused about what I want to do with it. Confused about what the next step is.

But does there have to be a next step?

For me, this thing we do is truly a passion. But it’s also my escape. My recreation. My fun. Like Dirty Harrry, I have a regular gig. Street Photography, or any photography for that matter, is a release. This ride is just getting started, really. And damn if it isn’t ok to be confused about what I want from it. Wander. Experiment. Fail. Try again. I’ve got to realize that’s part of the deal. The process. The growth.

And maybe, just maybe, the confusion itself is the next step in the “logical progression”. It’s like to think it is. And in that case, the confusion makes perfect sense.



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