Observing the darkness: Nighttime Landscapes by Konstantinos Kissas | EVI PAPADOPOULOU
Konstantinos Kissas, Nighttime landscapes
To Konstantinos Kissas, the photographic camera is the medium by which he records his travelling memories, from trips to nearby or far away places. While travelling across the Mediterranean, the photographer appears interested in capturing the moment, the memory, the feeling, which is then transmuted into a picture, directly destined for the viewer. His pictures serve as the pages of a travel diary, carrying a personal and a broader charge, and they have a catholic and universal dimension, as they do not include any particular characteristic of the places he has visited.
Just like a romantic flâneur, who chooses the natural landscape, instead of the contemporary urban field, as a place of action and recording, he transmits to the viewers the feeling and the excitement everyone experiences, when they come in contact with the uncontrollable nature. In the landscapes he portrayed between 2006 and 2008, he chose to record nighttime moments, focusing on fragments of the natural landscape, transmuted into deeply poetized photographic images. Tree brunches and trunks, flowers, a boat that can barely be seen in the horizon, all attract the photographer’s eye, they are captured by the camera and they reflect his touring in the nature. In spite of the fact that they are taken during nighttime, his photographs allow a particular, dark-penetrating light to emerge.
Keeping away from the fruitless academism, imposing beautified results and a stereotypical iconography, the photographer would rather focus on details that often give the impression that there is motion within the picture frame. The way he uses the photographical medium contributes to this impression. In a way, he seems to be going back to the early days of the photographic art. He stands patiently in front of his subject and lets the camera capture imperceptible movements and fleeting moments of the play of light on the objects, in the depth of time. Indeed, some of his pictures seem to be related to the moving images’ art, allowing the viewers to experience the breeze or the reflection of the moonlight in a nighttime landscape.
Konstantinos Kissas, Nighttime landscapes
In his endless touring, the human figure is limited to a supporting role and reveals its existence through interspersed objects and distant, artificial sources of light. Sometimes the presence of the artist also becomes perceptible, by the minimum use of light he employs, in order to set off his theme. Although the human form is excluded, at an iconographic level, some of Konstantinos Kissas’ pictures create paths for the entrance of the external viewer into the picture frame. The shooting from the spot of an adult’s viewing, or from the ground, gives to the viewers the impression that they can enter the field of the image, move within the space of the picture, following the creator’s path, and experience the artwork with all their senses.
The photographer’s relation with the art of the past is evident in pictures that promote the unequalled grandeur of the nature and make man redefine his position in it. Making use of what the romantic painters taught for the capturing of the “sublime”, the photographer places his camera at such distance from the portrayed theme, so as to create compositions, governed by a spirit of poetic sensibility. The printing technique reveals another form of appropriation of the artistic creation of the past. In spite of the fact that it is a product of contemporary technology, the final result reminds us of the art of lithography and it has the aura of the “old” and the “timeless”.
In the days of post modernism, through his artwork, Konstantinos Kissas suggests a return to the first human experience, the contact with nature, turning detail into a theme and transforming pieces of worlds into photographic landscapes. As an unprejudiced viewer, his camera records the physical reality, without making any attempt to alter it, by means of digital elaboration. His less evident purpose is to capture the atmosphere surrounding a place, and to visualize his personal emotion, while making us communicants of his travelling experiences, with the Mediterranean nighttime light providing the backdrop for such experiences.