11 Mai Photographic journeys
‘‘I used to see a thousand places with two eyes, now I see the same place with a thousand eyes’’
In the case of Kostas Papantoniou, that same place he sees with a thousand eyes is Mount Olympus. In his journeys on the sacred mountain of ancient Greeks, his camera catches “a thousand and one” aspects of a uniquely beautiful landscape. The great number of photos (about five thousand) reveals the naturalist’ obsession to catch the cycle of life, as it appears in the natural environment of the mountain. The countless photos which show trees, flowers and insects over the course of all seasons, create a “rich and authentic” view on the forms of life of Olympus nature. Almost all the time there is a reference to man in the frame, a mountaineer exploring the landscape, or to the technical intervention of man in the mountain environment, a wooden bridge over a stream, a mountain refuge. In all the topics the photographic lens focuses on the natural course of life, the endless change of beings, the eternal alternation from existence to non-existence. The mountain reveals its secrets before the eyes of the photographer as a kind of “gift”. Colorful images full of simplicity and authenticity compensate for the long and wearing hiking. The photographic lens catches the “secret” life of the mountain with respect, with simplicity, with innocence. Kostas Papantoniou’s spontaneous photos hold a small child’s joy as he/she discovers the magnificence of Nature, from the smallest insect which approaches the blooming wildflower, to the perennial tree that touches the sky. His “experiential” images are more than elusive shots of the forest, the rock or the waterfall and in this sense they indicate a constant effort to reveal our life through Nature’s life. All we have to do is accept the “gift” of Olympus, which is more than clean air and beautiful landscapes to take photos of.
Of all the photos taken by Kostas Papantoniou, ten themes were chosen which were sent to a German photographic laboratory for special editing. The photos taken with high digital resolution were printed on paper on a laser printer and were then covered with acrylic glass. The specific technique with which the acrylic, three millimeter thick glass is placed directly on the printed photo with special glue, “eliminates” the “air” between the photographic paper and the glass. As a result, the light is reflected “directly” and not “unfiltered” on the acrylic glass and its content. In this way, the colors of the photo, which seem stronger, are lit up, their contrast is featured more clearly and their details are distinguished. The outlines of the shapes are highlighted and they are given a relief touch. The photos create the sense of a “living”, three dimensional space, which the observers can almost “experience” with their eyes. Photos taken with the use of this technique, which decorate the reception area of the hotel, succeed in attracting the guests’ attention and in subjecting them to a sense of “intimacy”. The ultimate aim of the images is to ensure the guests’ first contact with the natural environment of Olympus, in order, firstly, to “get accustomed” visually and then to discover their own images and experience their own thrill.
Dr. Omiros Xenidis