iannis Delatolas

Location: The Bronx, NY
Nationality: Greek
Biography: Iannis Delatolas  Delatolas is a New York-based photographer.  The main focus of his photographic work is landscape photography, including a long exploration of low light photography. He has had solo exhibitions in New York City at... MORE
Public Story
Copyright iannis Delatolas 2023
Updated Dec 2012
Topics Arts, Black and White, Fine Art, Immigration, Landscape

"Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you would not have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you will have understood by then what these Ithakas mean."

from the poem "Ithaka" C.P. Kavafy


As a first generation immigrant I am constantly pondering about my place in this society and my relationship to the one I came from. The disconnect between the old familiar homeland, that has with the passage ot time become foreign, and the foreign new land that has become now home, is deeply disorienting. This contradiction is inherent in the immigrant's experience .

The camera not only records a landscape or an image, it is also the means by which we experience a newly arrived at destination as travelers. Vilem Flusser in "Towards a Philosophy of Photography" discusses how this function of the camera is central to it's role as an apparatus and has as much to do with the recorded image as the photographer's intentions.  Both these ideas of coming to terms with the newly arrived at and the limitations set by the camera are central to my work.    

Photography in Greek means "drawing with light."  Since its invention, the endeavor of photographers has been to capture light and the landscape or object in the right light.  I am also capturing light in my work: nightlight has to be "collected" over several seconds or minutes. Things photographed are the same at daytime as they are at nightime.  But we are not.   We think of something as mysterious when we can't know or fully see it; these things become the imagination's domain.   

 The darkness in my work eradicates the visual noise of advertising and prime time imagery.  Seeing endless high contrast, saturated images on screens and billboards typifies my experience of the contemporary urban condition.  Partially as a result of my rural Greek heritage, I am inclined to challenge this experience.  I make images that provide myself, and the viewer, with a hiatus from this constant assault of the senses.  This break, however, is intended to require less passivity and more engagement by the viewer.   

My photographs reveal more through time and the viewer’s continued gaze.  One is unable to merely glance at these dark squares seemingly devoid of light.  The pace at which the images in the prints become apparent to the viewer is intended not only to be similar to the time it takes for me to make the exposure, but also to the experience I have in the dark room, as the blank fiber paper in the development tray gradually morphs into being.  This lapsing of time in both my ruminative production and the viewer’s consideration of my work are in stark contrast to the mass media’s ultimate design of rapid, hollow consumption.

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