|THEOPHILOS STOUPIADIS (HELLAS)
IMAGES OF A PLAIN COUNTRY II
28/2 - 20/3 1998
ANDREOY GEORGIOY 56 / 525-968
DAILY 20.00 - 24.00
There can be no doubt that the environment in which we grow up, live and function has a decisive
impact on the formation of our character. Here we are referring to the environment not only in its
narrow sense of our family, but also in the broader meaning of our village, town, country or even
Once the individual has as his basis the environment in which he grew up and spent the first years of
his life - a village, a town or a wider setting - the idea of 'home' takes shape within him. Each of us
maps out his 'home', his specific environment, in a different manner, in a unique way, by means of
his familiarity with it and his ability to distinguish among each of its details. Every part of that
specific place has its own small but distinctive story, and all of them together go to make up the
jigsaw puzzle that is the individual character. The stories may be forgotten one day, but the
atmosphere, the aroma, of the place with which they are connected will remain forever unchanged
and indelibly engraved on our souls.
Yet visitors to the place will not immediately be able to discern either the atmosphere or all the little
stories. They make up a set of items without any particular significance.
In the images, then, we have an emotional approach, while a prolonged absence from the location
gives the photographer the right to stand back and produce a neutral photographic result.
Each image is a record - the record of some specific place, of the photographer's 'home'. It is the
photographer's attempt to record and depict his own portrait.
Images of a PlainCountry II is a continuation of the photographer's previous unit of work, entitled
Images of a PlainCountry I. That first unit contains general shots of the area, recording and
accentuating its particular atmosphere, but there was a need to capture more details of the elements of
which those landscapes consist. The new images come closer to the landscape, and most of them
contain specific information about the materials of earth or break the landscape down into pieces, thus
ensuring that each photograph contains the outstanding features of the landscape.
These images can be read on two levels. On the first level, the photographs are to be taken in threes
and give a general, panoramic view of the area (it should be stressed that the images are not
continuous, or not entirely continuous, since this is of less interest than the fact that they all show the
same place). The second level takes each photograph or image separately. Thus, in the first instance
we have a general impression of the atmosphere, while in the second we penetrate more deeply into
the landscape and come to know the materials of which it is composed. The repetition in some cases
of the same features in all three photographs places the emphasis on the outstanding features of the
landscape. There are no surprises in these photographs, in terms either of the landscapes (which are
not 'pretty pictures') or of the way in which they have been photographed. The photographs function
in a familiar, almost invisible way, thus promoting their objective and facilitating the direction in
which they are moving. Time is of secondary importance in these images. There is no way of
determining when the photographs were taken; they contain nothing which refers us to a particular
moment in time or even a particular season of the year. Everything strikes us as being motionless in
time. Although photography could be said to cut a specific piece of the visible world at a particular
moment in time, here, in contrast to the initial idea of space-time in photography, the moment seems
to possess duration. Even so, the landscape itself is alive and changes.
These photographs were not taken to keep memories alive. There is no desire for classification behind
them, only a need to experience the space itself once more.