“I’m constantly inspired by mythology, since I believe that each one of these stories reflects a form of initiation and this is something that I’m always interested in incorporating in my work.”
Petros Koublis (born 1981) is a contemporary photographer currently based in Athens, Greece.
Artist statement: “I think of photography as a form of archeology. Only the time perception is reversed, as archeology discovers what has survived the past, while photography creates an archive that intends to survive the future. There is always something more, something beyond the actual photographic quality of an image. There is also interpretation. Our perception of the past is partially based on strong hypotheses. When there are not enough sources of information, an archeologist has to interpret the findings and achieve a convincing hypothesis.
Today such hypotheses are strictly controlled by the academic world and mistakes can be avoided. But till a couple of centuries ago, when archeology wasn’t an established science, interpreting the facts was a quite subjective procedure and hypotheses were influenced by imagination.
“Photography has the ability to offer documents; nevertheless it also has a certain transforming force.”
In Greece one can still visit the King Minos Palace or the Tomb of Agamemnon, even though there is no historical documentation they ever really existed. Imagination is always a part of interpretation. I try to include such an imaginary interpretation in my own work. Photography has the ability to offer documents; nevertheless it also has a certain transforming force. I try to approach this transformation as an actual part of the documentation. This is the vital part of the “hypothesis” my work suggests.
It’s like trying to blend history and mythology into something that will look like a convincing fact in the future. Photography can be an ideal medium for this. It’s both so strictly rational and so poetic. It’s like a somnambulist solving math problems.”
“On April of 2014 I was invited to visit the Greek island of Santorini in order to create a series dedicated to the less known part of the island. The project was commissioned by the Vedema Luxury Resort, but I was given all the creative freedom to approach the subject exactly as it was a personal one.
Santorini offered me all the elements I needed in order to unfold a narrative based on the context I’m most interested in through my work; the mystique, the embrace of mythology as an extension of the very landscape that created its myths, the perpetual transformation of the land around us, its secrets, the spiritual connection with our origin and the discrete whisper of our destination..
The process of working on these images and approaching the island this way, it was a kind of initiation, something that influenced, I think, with a mystic character the whole series. I’m constantly inspired by mythology, since I believe that each one of these stories reflects a form of initiation and this is something that I’m always interested in incorporating in my work, not necessary as a straight reference, but more like a feeling that runs through the whole series.
“Nature has given us its own symbols, its own little natural monuments that awake inside us this primitive memory.”
Everything is part of a very intimate experience with the history of this land. It is part of us in an emotional level that goes beyond our present state, as it reaches back to a forgotten memory of our origin. Nature has given us its own symbols, its own little natural monuments that awake inside us this primitive memory. Everywhere around the world, every culture and nation carries these natural symbols in a more abstract or specific way, having given cultural, religious or just emotional attributes to their surrounding nature.
Through this project I just had to follow the path to my very own origin.”
Petros Koublis, why did you become a photographer?
I love making and collecting images. Everything else just followed.
Which photographer has caught your attention lately?
One is Alexis Vasilikos with his ability to build meaningful narratives through his editing process, while bringing together long sequences of beautiful, vivid images is something really unique and I deeply admire it.
Also, Georges Salameh (georgessalameh.blogspot.gr), with his latest ongoing project “Refuge Dreamgrove”. A gentle and touching body of work that explores the sense of home and immigration blending images of people asleep at public spaces with images of houses’ interiors and views from balconies or terraces.
What’s in your photography bag? What kind of equipment do you use?
A camera with a 35mm lens and a small flash unit. At the moment a Fuji x100 and a Vivitar Thyristor flash.
What’s your favorite website about photography?
Which advice would you give someone who wants to get started with photography?
“We should abandon the rationalization of the mind.”
It should come in the most effortless way. Straight from our senses, for all of our senses are connected. The most enchanting secrets come as a whisper, as a scent, as a glance. We should leave ourselves free to listen, to touch, to taste, to see.
We should abandon the rationalization of the mind and let things flow inside our heart, undisturbed.