Wait, do buildings talk?
Of course they do.
He introduces himself as a professional photographer of architecture. Plain and simple as that. Nonetheless, adding the cognomen “poet” would not in the least disorientate the discussion of his works or the surplus of his craftsmanship: Yiorgis Yerolymbos photographs «artistically»! He gets paid to shoot buildings and constructions, public or private, of minute or gigantic proportions that long to reach the sky, or small abodes at the side of the road. His references are numerous, the eclectic associations range from Malevich and Russian avant-garde to Andreas Gursky, while painting and cinema take center stage in his images.
Since the year 2007 when he first visited the Faliro Delta, up until 2017 when he issued the photographic essay entitled “Orthographs”, a portfolio tracing the development and construction of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, a glass-front and multi-angular structure esteemed as the most emblematic building of the Athenian south, the Thessaloniki-bred photographer registered every layer of the enormousness of the construction, the cranes, the solidity of steel and concrete, the pandemonium and noisiness of the iron superstructure, the grit, the sweat and the excavators. A stunning statement and manifesto of how Yiorgis Yerolymbos makes his living and of his “method”, resulting in frames projecting such poetry of high-intensity.
Wait, do buildings talk? Of course they do. They talk with the landscape and the horizon, they generate feelings not only from their dwellers or passers-by, but from those who photograph them too. In the case of Yerolymbos, the words of F. Evans are also his means, his method, his poetry: “Try for a record of emotion, rather than a piece of photography”.
In the years following the “Orthographs”, an essay that was acclaimed, showcased and released in an international edition, Yerolymbos probably wanted to take some time off and, most likely, take a step back from the world of solid materials. Through his latest work “Mare Liberum” (2019) he dove into the sea water’s saltiness. Vacationers, yachts, docks, cargo boats transporting goods, dinghy boats carrying refugees to wet graves. Waters. A fluctuation of intensity, messages, meanings. Afterall, the message in Yerolymbos’ photographs was never a singular one, they were always numerous. He was raised in Thessaloniki and, as such, the sea is his internal compass and, concurrently, his strongest dilemma: what lies beyond the waters of Thermaikos Bay? And, what is happening beyond the waters of Athens, out there in the seas of the remaining country, from Litochoro to Itilo in Mani?
In “Mare Liberum” Yerolymbos sets aside the architecture of the mainland and goes sailing with his lens to photograph precursors to a storm in Kymi or serene cruise outings in the Ionian Sea. A wondrous seascape which, by reference to the English artist Turner, reaches to Kythira of Aggelopoulos, the project’s birthplace in the year 2000, nineteen years past.
Yerolymbos’ wanderings from the urban landscapes of “Orthographs” to the wet element, this dual, suspended and penumbral gaze, the contrast between land and sea with the only cohesive and connective element being the sky above his head is in reality that which determines his view and evolvement: freedom.