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I am a fine art photographer, motivated by a vision to transform the real world into a dreamy place, possibly in another timeframe and outside the ordinary description of shapes, lines, and figures. In order to succeed, I am using the long-exposure technique, allowing me to play with extended time exposures of 1 to 10 minutes. The final outcome, even from the first moment I capture my frame, is quite unrealistic.
I am drawn to long-exposure photography because it allows me to add a fourth dimension―time―to a three-dimensional object. My photography is a 4D object leaving its footprint, its trace, in a 2D layer. When this happens for a 3D object, it is easy for the mind to visualize its 3D morphology. In order to envision a 4D object, however, one needs the power of fine art photography.
For me, fine art photography is an alternative way to express a common subject, so that each individual artist can reveal secret aspects of it. To do this, each artist experiments with light, time, and spatial coordinates, and then through one’s processing, one reveals a subject framed in a transformed world in which its dimensions can be easily described and visualized.
“Clarity and Confusion” is possibly the subtitle of my whole portfolio, and I cannot find even one photo there that does not follow this concept. I will try to explain my vision in the following lines and to give you an insight into the “Clarity and Confusion” concept in my photography.
With long-exposure photography, a whole new world was suddenly revealed. A world with blurred movements, skies with dramatic tones where the clouds are mystic and unreal, the seas are frozen, and everything there is blurred, giving the notion of movement in a static medium. At the same time, this was my very first step to creating confusion―not to me of course, but to all my viewers―and to make them ask questions like, "Is this from a place on Earth?" and "Am I living in this place, because I haven’t seen something like this before." I wanted to make this confusion more challenging, and I think this next step was the decisive one, since I managed to give my personal signature to this, as well as an interesting perception of my reality. My intention was to produce photos with a “clarity” character, and this means that a viewer instantly and clearly understands my subject, but at the same time a big question mark is created. The coexistence of these two contradictory feelings seems to be a mind game, but for me, it's the only way to elaborate my vision and express my feelings.
This vision can be seen in my “Mediterranean Sky” collection. My intention was to photograph this wreck with a clear reflection pattern, so I had to revisit this place about ten times in the period of February to May of 2013. Especially on this collection, I wanted to play with darker tones to reveal the interesting features of the wreck.
The original name of the Mediterranean Sky was City of York when it was built in 1952 in Newcastle, England. The cruise liner departed London, in November, 1953, and maintained its service until it was sold to Michael A. Karageorgis, Piraeus, in 1971, when she became the Mediterranean Sky. Her last voyage was in August 1996, when she sailed from Brindisi to Patras. Due to the company’s financial situation, the Mediterranean Sky was arrested in 1997, while in Patras. She remained in Patras until 1999, when she was towed to Eleusis, and laid up and was virtually abandoned. Then, in late November, 2002, she began to take on water and began to list. In order to stop her sinking, she was towed to shallow water and was grounded. In January, 2003, Mediterranean Sky keeled over on her side in Eleusus Bay. She remains there awaiting her fate.
In my workflow, I emphasized the reflection in order to reveal the other half of the wreck. Looking at the photo from these angles, it's as though you can see the whole ship. Gradients are added to the sea with careful tonal processing, while gray masks were used to adjust the burning and dodging processing. Special care was taken for some light adjustments near the ship, and selective-contrast processing.
Vassilis Tangoulis leads a double career as an academic teacher-assistant professor and a fine art photographer. He is a physicist working in the chemistry department in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece and despite his full-time career, has also found success following his lifetime passion of photography. Tangoulis has been a recipient of international awards for his black-and-white long-exposure work. Neutral density filters came into his life and a new surrealistic world has been revealed. From that moment, he gives all his creativity to elaborate upon and explore this new world.