When I got off the air conditioned train at the platform of the station in Avignon in early October 2011, I was hit by a wave of heat, combined with harsh sunlight and pure, clear and blue sky of Provence. The very same morning I left London, as usual, in rain.
The most shocking realisation was that I will not be able to shoot during the day the way I used to shoot back in the UK. Blue was different. Green was different. Red was different. I decided to accept the challenge and embrace it.
The inspiration came slowly, through the exposure to works of Vasarely and Le Corbusier. Their spirit is very much alive in South of France. Slowly, as I started to watch buildings in Aix-En-Provence and Marseilles and the patterns of light and shadow on architectural objects, the optical illusions they induced, I started taking first photos, which quickly turned out to be a body of work thanks to the abundance of available subjects. I have titled the project Taming The Sky, because that was what it all was about: it was learning to see and learning to see in a different way than the one I was used to before. It was literally, battling the unknown and unfamiliar elements to tame them and use to create images showing the abstract beauty of modern architecture of Provence.
Most of the images have seen some post processing to enhance the omnipresence of clear, blue skies over Provence. In some cases, when I considered the juxtaposition of light and shadow to play the most prominent role in the visual composition and I found colours distracting, images have been converted to monochrome.
I’m not a street photographer. I do photograph random people when something is happening around, I do photograph events. But usually I’d rather participate in what’s happening around than hide behind the camera.
It was always the visual composition that attracted me. Fleeting emotions, the short instance when all the elements come to place. During my stay in France, visual composition has dominated my photography. I was doing a lot of architectural work and most of it could be photographed during a very brief moment when the sun was in some exact position on the sky to produce the light and shadows patterns I wanted.
But I also wanted to record the way I feel about the city I lived in, Aix-En-Provence and I took to the streets at night to do so. To look for my place in that environment.
Not knowing many people there due to the language barrier, my social interactions were limited and my life was following a constant, nearly everyday pattern of studying photography, looking for subjects and shooting architecture. People became just elements of the landscape, their lives mysterious, distant. It was like observing some strange specimen through a hazy magnifying glass.
In early 2012 I was experimenting with long exposure and camera movement techniques for my landscape study, The Other Side. It occurred to me, that this technique would also allow me to show the city the way I saw it, with prevalent architectural accents and shadows inhabiting the space. Ghosts going on about their own, mysterious activities in a space that is familiar and present, but is also the kind of space that could be placed anywhere around the world.
Each exposure took from 1.6 sec to 2 sec, has been combined with controlled movement of the camera, captured with 50mm lens and the balance of white has been raised to 7500K to taint the frames with orange and red glow prevalent in the nightscape of Aix-En-Provence.
Eurydice died on the day of her wedding with Orpheus, bitten by a poisonous snake. Orpheus, a great poet, has lost his muse, his inspiration. Gods have convinced him to go to the Underworld, the land of the dead, and bring his beloved one back.
This beautiful and sad story has inspired artists since antiquity. For me, it’s an allegory of the constant search for inspiration. It’s an allegory to the everyday journey we undertake in search of inspiration. Journey, which sometimes is as perilous as the journey of Orpheus was, because it’s a journey into the depths of our minds.
Orpheus failed in his quest because of his impatience. Which is a lesson to us, that looking for inspiration is a process which takes time.
The Other World is a reflection of the world we live in. It’s a reflection of our lives. I was looking for the reflections around that would be natural and well known. I decided to use reflections on water as the fabric for making this series and when doing this project, I decided to use colours to evoke emotions I associate with them.
The Other World is a photographic study on colour and emotions. To create this series I was manipulating the balance of white, combined with extremely slow shutter speeds and controlled camera movement.