Meteora-When only Photography captures the true feeling: Stories behind photos #7

(download and watch a full-screen high resolution version of my Meteora photo slideshow at my website here)

Meteora is a unique phenomenon in the world…   Unless you have visited it, you cannot imagine the awe and the contradicting feelings evoked by just being there. Contradicting because for one it’s the huge rocks and cavities that have been shaped in peculiar forms through thousands of years. A true feeling of smallness, in front of these titanic elements of nature. But also contradicting, because on-top of these rocks religious men built inaccessible monasteries. A strange feeling of greatness for mankind that conquers any peak. Such are the antithetical feelings evoked by this place, which is sculptured equally by the fierceness of time and the power of faith.

Nevertheless, access to this place is easier nowadays. Roads have been built and buses of tourists have access to almost any monastery. Traditional ropes and carts that helped you literally climb the rocks, gave way to stairs. Still numerous to ascend, but manageable. These days, faith is not the sole passport to this mysterious place.

This has brought inevitable change. Any attempt to re-live the inspiring experience of the landscape may be interrupted every now and then by the cheers of tourists. Any spiritual encounter that you may experience inside any monastery, might be broken by the next visitor laughing aloud at his mobile phone.

So is there a way to actually isolate the true feeling that the place inspires? Is there still any atmosphere emitted from the secret-corners of the monasteries, experienced only by the few that wish to seek them?

They say that photography struggles to depict a three-dimensional world at the two-dimensions of paper (or the screen nowadays) and it mostly fails. But I say that the viewfinder of my camera, has proven the only means that helped isolate the greatness of the place. Because I could depict on the same frame, the vastness of the land and the height of the rocks, and at the same time the smallness of man’s works, undisturbed. For it was my shutter that could imprison the play between elements of nature, the clouds and the winds, with the unique beauty of the monasteries. And it was my open-apertures that let me penetrate inside the true character of the monasteries, highlighting unique corners and the play of light without any need to hurry or to explain nothing to anyone. It was my camera that let me photograph not “what” I saw, but “how” I saw. The four corners of my photos, instead of limiting my possibilities actually proliferated my view. I had to focus. And thus, I was now seeing more…

The brief Meteora photo slideshow above, is my attempt to convey the experience of Meteora as I lived it. However, I kindly invite you to re-live the experience by downloading the higher resolution version from my website here…

Watch it with the sound set to on. And let photography convey the true feelings evoked from this place. For you will have never seen Meteora this way, even in real life, unless there was the need to focus meticulously and recompose reality…

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“Can photography change the world?” Hosted in Digital Photographer magazine..

Digital Photographer issue 75 UK’s fastest growing photo magazine “Digital Photographer” (issue 75), raised the issue “Can Photography change the world?“.

 

I was honoured to have my views hosted at the specific magazine issue, on the historic role of Photography.

 

As I was explaining….

 

 

 

 

“I could write thousands of words for the significant role of photography in shaping the history of mankind… but then I think I cannot! 

It’s a medium of only 160-170 years in age yet it has achieved what no other means has achieved for thousands of years: 
– to inform but also to manipulate, 
– to educate but also to support political propaganda, 
– to record the “cheesy smiles” at people’s gatherings throughout time but also to record the true struggles of life at the streets, 
– to record reality but also to “fake” events. 

It’s all that and even more. Of course one could argue that every other medium which could capture a picture could do that, be it photography, cinematography or even a painting… 

But there are actually two things which truly make photography a unique medium changing the world….. 

The first is the power of the millisecond

The ignored and unimportant millisecond which goes unnoticed and is squeezed relentlessly in everyday life, suddenly exposes its power through photography. This “unimportant millisecond” gets in all of a sudden a meaning of its own, and proves that so many marvelous things are happening during this tiny slice of time.

A glimpse between two people, a move, an interaction between strangers, a gesture, things which go unnoticed but are part of our lives, things which never become the center of our interest are put in full exposure…. 

Thanks to photography, we suddenly understand there is probably an added dimension, squeezed and lost between the hectic struggle of everyday life. And what happens in this dimension could probably influence attitudes, people and history more than other things… 

That’s why Dorothea Langue said: 

“This benefit of seeing… 
can come only if you pause a while, 
extricate yourself from the maddening mob of quick impressions, 
ceaselessly battering our lives, 
and look thoughtfully at a quiet image… 
The viewer (photographer) must be willing to pause, 
to look again, to meditate…” 

The second and equally important thing, which truly makes photography a medium shaping the world, is its unique ability to depict the true soul of people

I wonder which other medium, other than photography, could capture this flick of time with the anxiety of the mother in a bombardment running for cover with her daughter, like this classic photo of Robert Capa: 

capa0181

…or this soul-capturing photo of Dorothea Langue: 

d_lang602

These two unique characteristics of photography, have undoubtably made photography one of the most peculiar yet most powerful forces of change, since the mid 1800’s… “

What do you think?

Travel Photography: featured in Digital Photographer!

 And then, out of the blue, the leading UK Digital Photographer magazine contacted me and asked to showcase some of my travel photos and a brief interview, for its “Travel Photography feature” ! Needless to say, I was enthusiastic about this!

A photo from Venice, a photo from Santorini and one from Burano were selected as distinctive of my photography work.

Click here to read an excerpt (pdf file, 520k)