Petros Koublis: Beyond the Surface of Perception

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We are pleased to release April's print, "Semitas" from Petros Koublis. Read more about Koublis’ work below.

Purchase this print from our print sale page.

Archival inkjet print
6 x 9, signed and numbered edition of 5

Petros Koublis’ photographs are profound and visually striking. His work evokes a sense of déjà vu, haunting the waking consciousness; triggered by forms within the immediate environment. Like a dense fog, his images veil the native senses and alienate the surrounding landscape in waves of shifting perspective. The viewer is left suspended in time and space, stranded without a compass.

Having originally studied painting, Koublis recalls that photography found him naturally. Heavily influenced by Romanticism, he employs photography to explore themes of spirituality, sublimity, and the immense beauty of nature. His auspicious use of light and rich sense of color elicit an emotional response akin to 18th century Pastoral and Sublime landscape paintings. Koublis focuses on these attributes in an attempt to evoke a deep spiritual connection with nature and reveal an unspoken truth that lingers just beyond the surface of our perception.


In his series In Dreams, Koublis reveals a journey that zigzags across a foreign terrain. An undulating narrative unravels as the landscape slowly reveals subtle truths only to hide them once again. Objects and spaces begin to take on a renewed metaphysical significance. Shallow pools of water become portals with unknown depths. Explosive waves dominate the shoreline, embodying the strength and perseverance of nature. At times portrayed as a glassine mirror, the sea dissolves completely as it recedes into the background. Animals become beacons of wisdom and guide us through the unforgiving landscape, while other times they appear as gatekeepers standing at the brink of an unforeseen threshold.

It is difficult to view this work without recalling the long history of Greece and the mythology of the region. Herons, olive groves, and thick pine forests are not only symbols in ancient mythology, but hold significance in modern Greece culture. Noting that, “primitive memory is ingrained with symbols,” Koublis recognizes that, “every culture … carries natural symbols in abstract or specific ways.” He takes pleasure in the nature of a symbol as both culturally and religiously subjective. Koublis believes that everyone must follow their own history to understand and reflect upon why certain elements elicit particular emotional responses. As Greek mythology offers explanations for the changing of the seasons, Koublis too asks us to reconsider how and why things occur. He envisions a new mythology, explaining, “Plato claimed that myths can convey meanings that are hidden from our mind and can only be reached through our intuition. When we put our mind in doubt … other senses become more alert, revealing concepts that are free of words and definitions.” Koublis transforms the Greek landscape into a visceral viewing experience that is free from the confines of historically accepted beliefs. Adamantly, we welcome new possibilities by trusting our intuition and curiosity.


In his series In Landscapes, Koublis examines the disconnect between the modern man and the weathered Greek landscape. His exploration offers a reconsideration of existing notions, and attempts to draw new parallels. One notices the influence of Romanticism and the Sublime most vividly in these photographs underscored by the wild, often foreboding, landscape. Although situated a mere thirty miles from Athens, we are transported to a mystical realm of rolling hills, replete with majestic animals and ancient olive groves, that beckon a deepened visceral response. The dense fog saturates the landscape and embodies an immense aura or spirit—prompting us to view it as a living, breathing, and unsympathetic being. By recasting the Attic landscape in this way, Koublis seeks to rid us of our acquired history of the land only to offer a new direction with continued hope.


Personal discovery is central to Koublis’ process. He often spends hours wandering the diverse Greek countryside, guided solely by his intuition—seeking images that attract him on an emotional level. Subtly, this process suggests what we might learn about ourselves and the universe once rational thought and preconceived notions are set aside. With his camera, Koublis expands and compresses the landscape, challenging our perception of the surroundings. In both In Landscapes and In Dreams, he rejects our ability to immediately comprehend and trust the native sense of sight, inviting instead a second glance. This aggressive shift in perspective skews our sense of scale and generates a feeling of dysphoria. Long, grassy reeds are viewed from above appearing as dense as forests, and rock formations shift from mountainous cliff faces to coral no larger than the size of a hand.

As if teetering on the edge of a dream, Koublis plants the seeds of ideas in his viewers’ heads, rarely providing answers to the questions that his work conjures. Captions present a delicate, opaque narrative. Inspired by the works of E.E. Cummings and T.S. Eliot, many of his captions are derivative of their writings. Abstract enough so as not to provide an explanation for the photograph, the titles provide a direction for the viewer to follow. A narrative unfolds in waves like a lengthy poem, and generates yet another layer to one’s path of understanding.

Koublis’ photographs stimulate our subconscious and welcomes renewed insight upon continued reflection. He claims that, “Our dreams form a realm that inevitably hosts every desire and every passion, every hope and every fear, every thought and every instinct. For it is a realm that arises from the vast oceans of emotions, the dense forests of thoughts and the endless steppes of intuition.” Just as his photographs become about more than the thing itself, his work draws us to inconceivable depths. He alludes to the frail but conflicting nature of the human spirit, invigorating our senses and freeing us to explore the limits of our intuition.

This article first appeared in print in Issue 6.

Caitie Moore is an artist and independent curator. She is the owner of Nomadic Bookshelf, an independent bookstore dedicated to the self-published photobook, and is the former director of Aint-Bad Magazine. She currently resides in Cleveland, OH