Greece is a bittersweet, melancholic place when viewed through the lens of award-winning Greek photographer Vassilis Tangoulis. His haunted lakes with abandoned piers and dark lush castles with velvety hues are far removed from the touristy images used by travel agents to sell Greece.
“I was tired of the same old stereotypical images of Greece that we see in tourist brochures,” he says. “Someone’s got to show the other side. My Greece isn’t a post card version but a fine art edition.”
The photographer’s deep familiarity with the areas he shoots has to do with his upbringing and own travels.
“I live in Patras now, but my father was stationed in areas around Greece, so, as a child, we travelled from mountainous Karpenisi to seaside Kavala,” he says.
“I especially enjoy taking shots around Messolongi and my early work was centered around the waterlands of Lake Tourlida.”
Tangoulis enjoys showcasing areas in northern Greece, often overlooked by mainstream photographers.
His passion is long exposure that adds a fourth dimension to his work; that of time. After adding a dark filter to the lens, he sits for hours at a spot so that the moments captured have a sense of motion, transcending time. The edginess of this technique serves to emphasize the loneliness of the object, creating contrast.
Tangoulis stumbled onto photography in 2008 – on a whim. “I couldn’t draw so I decided to take some photos. I needed a creative outlet,” he says about his decision to buy a professional camera. When he first held a camera he felt “nothing special”.
Despite the joy and recognition he has received, he wears his “amateur” status on his sleeve, stating he would never quit his “real” job as a physicist at the Chemistry Department of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.
“Heck no!” he says. “If photography were my livelihood, I’d just be stressed out.” So it’s no weddings or christenings for Tangoulis… just haunting images of Greece.