IANNIS DELATOLAS | BRONX, NY, USA
Iannis Delatolas is an emerging fine art photographer whose extensive knowledge of music has also led to his work in theater. He was born in Germany, raised in Greece and emigrated to the United Sates at age eighteen. Following an apprenticeship with Robert Wilson, he collaborated with the theater director on Wilson’s opera Prometheus (World Premiere, Athens, 2001) for which he structured the score by incorporating excerpts from compositions by the composer Iannis Xenakis. He studied photography, printing and aesthetics with photographers Marcus Leatherdale and David Armstrong. Mr. Delatolas has had solo exhibitions in New York City at Kouros Gallery (2006), the Gallery at the Chocolate Factory Theater (2007), The Italian Academy At Columbia University (2006, 2003), The Living Room Gallery (2004), the Salvatore Ferragamo Showroom (2002); and also at the Greek Embassy in Washington D.C. (2006). His work has been included in group shows in New York at Jen Bekman Gallery (2011), LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Center, 2011) and Haven Arts Gallery ; and elsewhere at The Curve Exhibition Center in Santa Fe (2011), PDNB Gallery (Photographs Do Not Bend) in Dallas (2008) and at Boston University, curated By David Armstrong (2000). In 2011 at Center Gallery in Santa Fe, he won second place in Dealer’s Choice, an exhibition juried by Dianne Vanderlip, Curator of Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles and Curator Emeritus of the Denver Art Museum. Writing on his work has appeared in The Advocate (2012), The Village Voice (2012) by Michael Musto and the Dallas Morning News (2007). In 2005, Mr. Delatolas’ portrait of Tobias Schneebaum accompanied his obituary in The New York Times. His work is included in New York: A Photographer’s City, by Marla Hamburg Kennedy (Rizzoli, 2011) and his photographs illustrate The First Time I Met Frank O’Hara: Reading Gay American Writers by Rick Whitaker, (Four Walls Eight Windows, 2003). His work will be included in Exposure 2012 (published by Artists Wanted), forthcoming this year. Iannis Delatolas lives in New York.
What is your work about?
In my series of photographs, Nostalgia, I wander through the United States, in the darkness with a 6×6 Rolleiflex from the 1950’s, photographing relics of an American Dream in decline. I do this with a feeling of wonder at the beauty these sites acquire under the low light of the moon and the streetlights. The photographic process, long exposures on film, allows for a contemplative relationship with the subject of my work. I am using the camera to record rapidly disappearing industry and urban landscapes. Along with the disappearance of this architecture, a certain feeling is being erased by a kind of gentrification that attempts to wipe clean what gives New York its feeling of an old place.
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 interested in a reversal of photography’s traditional approach by using the camera to capture the lack of light. I am using the darkness as a visual filter to reveal formal elements of the landscape that are less clear in the light of day.
I have inherited a certain anxiety that immigrants talk about. The feeling of belonging neither here nor there (my country of origin is Greece). As a first generation immigrant, I am constantly pondering 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 of 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. Nostalgia refers to a certain idea, to the yearning to be again in a place in time now past.
How does photographing on film (or using your material photographic process of predilection) inform your artistic practice?
I like working mostly with film. I find there are subtleties in shooting with film that get lost with the digital format. Especially when it comes to low light. But I try to force myself out of my box and have made images I love with digital cameras. However my best work is made using film.