Sein Langzeitprojekt in Europa und den USA konnte Vassilis Triantis in diesem Jahr nicht fortsetzen. Anstattdessen hat er den Lockdown und die Zeit danach intensiv für neue Ideen, neue Strecken genutzt. Mehr dazu hat der den #FacesOfPhotography erzählt:
Vassilis, how are you doing?
I am well considering the circumstances. Trying to keep optimistic that soon we will be able to regain the good aspects of our pre-COVID era and live along with the learnings that came with it.
What have the past weeks and months meant for you photographically?
Some things had to stop or come to a pause. I am shooting a long term ongoing project in the USA and Europe and this year I was not able to continue with all the travel bans imposed. However, that gave me time to research more on the project and re-shape some ideas but also come up with new ones of what to photograph and how. At the same time, I am participating in the FUTURES platform and the annual physical meeting and ensuing exhibition in Amsterdam was cancelled. The program of the platform moved online and was organised very well, still I missed the physical interaction with the rest of the artists and the organisers that would bring so much more in terms of informal discussions and creativity.
We were lucky enough to have the technological means to stil connect and communicate but there are certain limits to the virtual that cannot be compensated.
On the other hand, due to the pandemic and all that was happening around, I found lots of inspiration to start a new project called »1 1/2 Life«. So photography never stopped, just the way I dealt with it changed.
Did you work on a topic during the lockdown? And since then?
Indeed, the socio-political and emotional turmoil of the pandemic brought many ideas forth especially in the beginning, where the situation hit us like a cannonball. First thing I did was to grab my camera and start photographing randomly in order to keep myself and my mind off the gloomy atmosphere that settled by the media and the isolation. Slowly, ideas were translated into images and I started photographing more constructively and more targeted. I refused to document empty streets, or burdened hospitals in Amsterdam as I felt that such scenes are experienced by everyone and I did not want to appropriate or direct other people’s experiences. It would be redundant as well. I wanted to form more of a photographical essay related to what is the pandemic, how it came upon as, what led to the burden of the health care system globally, what is the impact on a social level and how we are going to walk out of it.
Therefore I started photographing the project “1 1/2 Life” which is a combination of text and images depicting my research and personal ideas on the above topics. Having a scientific background, I tried to familiarise the viewer through photography with scientific aspects of the pandemic, but also ideas on what is happening to public and private space, the consequences on social discussion and the abolishment of urban as a political and social platform but also the opportunities we gained into resetting our way and pace of life. The whole project was shot during the first wave of lockdown here in Amsterdam.
But as I mentioned before as well, being more at home and having more time to myself, many ideas came along about current and new projects. Some of these ideas already started taking shape. On the other hand, I am also planning some exhibitions for next year as well as looking into possibilities in publishing my first photo books with two projects that I completed in 2020.
Are the experiences of the pandemic decisive for your photography and photography in general?
I think the way we deal with Art in general will change. Until the time we will be able to regain physical contact, our interaction remains online and that has a big impact on what, how and why we photograph. Beyond that, experiencing photography and discussions around photography have moved also a lot to digital platforms. That has put constraints on the tangible character of photography. Viewing exhibitions, creating new bodies of work had to be reshaped. I think the learnings from this whole situation will not allow us to move back to what we had before. Which is not necessarily a bad thing altogether. Since many festivals moved online, we had the opportunity to view more than before. Portfolio reviews and discussions became more accessible online. I think many of those aspects are here to stay and can give a new boost to artists, curators and audiences altogether. We were forced to find new creative ways to expand and we should use those. However, all this should be in balance and should augment the physical experience of photographing and enjoying photography and not replace it.
For the time that will come: What is your photographic wish?
As I just said, I hope to learn from the hardship the pandemic brought upon and to use it to expand our horizons but not replace the actual and the physical. I would like to see more people being exposed to photography, and having more photographic voices coming up and democratising the medium, but also cherish the absence of visiting exhibitions, festivals an talking with each other face to face.
Personally speaking, I am investing more right now in producing photo books for the two projects I finished but also planning exhibitions for 2021. I cannot wait of course to go back to the USA and continue on the project I started there, but let’s see how the pandemic will progress and how we adapt to that as well. We have to take one step at a time.
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