Photography of Petros Koublis exhibits the raw beauty of nature which is mostly overlooked while an artist is looking for a perfect perspective or composition. There’s a deep stillness in grasslands, meadows, and lakes. The viewer may sometimes try to locate miscellaneous elements and deeper significances in his photography but he/she soon realizes that here the art of the photographer is lying in the true representation and reproduction of bare landscape. There are symbols indeed, in his photography, so there is contrast, irony, mystery, and reconciliation. Petros is very skillfully making use of film photography which gives a uniform grainy feel and glow to the photos… simply splendid. Pteros has provided select images for this showcase post. Here’s the Q&A part:
I was born in 1981 in the city of Serres in Northern Greece. I studied photography in Athens, but I mostly developed my skills and aesthetics through a continuous and insisting personal exploration. Since 2004 I’m also working as a professional photographer.
I started back in 2001. It was more like a joyful experience though, as it all came effortlessly, so although I was serious with the way I was approaching the medium, in the same time I mostly worked with a spontaneous impulse without having to rush anything. It became something of a natural process and I only had to let it grow bigger inside me. But it did came so naturally. Letting something flow inside you without any resistance makes everything simpler. Maybe this is also the reason why I make many images; I’m working on an daily basis, so every day I’ll be after something new.
It’s a way to explore our relationship with the outside world. It’s both a study based on observation and an interpretation based on thoughts and emotions. Poetic and rational in the same time. I find that exciting and so unique within the world of Art. I don’t know how specific I can be about the reasons why I make photographs though, as it’s more of an impulse. If nothing else, I’ll try to give an honest answer.
It’s like there is a window right in the middle of your soul, a hole that always remains open, keeping you constantly exposed to the outside world, letting things to flow in or out unrestrained. Photography is a way to handle that and maybe even claim some peace your soul.
Every human being in its purest form lies beyond the aspects of his expression, his thoughts, his feelings. I admit there is an effect taking place though. It’s exactly the claim for that peace.
In terms of personal expression there is only one area, photography itself. I’m going through a period of simplicity, so for all the projects I’ve worked during the last couple of years I was only using a 35mm lens; in some occasions I also use a small flash mounted on the camera. I found that a simplicity over the options we give to ourselves actually releases our expressive skills, at least that was the case with me. I shoot digital and then I process the images on my computer. I think that the digital editing can be a wonderful tool, as long as it remains a tool and it doesn’t determine the whole aesthetics of the actual image.
I think that the exhibitions I participated in during the last Athens Photography Festival were a significant moment. I also had the chance to see my work published in many important magazines and platforms around the world, as the British Journal of Photography, which also gave a lot of international attention towards my work.
Greece has a beautiful nature and it’s a real joy to explore it. I started with exploring the area just outside the outskirts of the Greek capital, trying to reveal the gradual transformation of this, once, intimate nature into a distant, otherworldly state. I tried to include a symbolic character to the subjects I was choosing to photograph. The olive groves, the pine forests, the sea or even the peacefully grazing animals in the meadows, they’re all 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. I just had to follow the path to my own origin, to try and find these references, to explore them, to reflect on why an olive branch or the sight of sea wakes these emotions inside me.
I think that contemporary photography is a thrilling field that makes a very significant contribution to the Art world. Sometimes it may feel repetitive indeed, but I think that this is part of the process and time will preserve the works that really had originality. I think that contemporary photography deals with its nature in a more courageous way than the one made in past decades. more courageous and certainly more exciting.
I’m carrying on with this journey, remaining honest and only asking for my work to maintain this honesty. Whatever sails in is welcome, but expression lies beyond ambitions. As for future plans, they certainly include a book, maybe within this year.
I admire many photographers, William Eggleston, Stephen Shore and Joel Sternfeld being some of the ones I love the most.
Honesty and hard work is important, a path really worth taking. But honesty has to be humble and hard work as effortless as possible. We have to let everything grow naturally inside us and it’s important to prepare ourselves right for that.