Born in 1980 in Athens, she studied Photography at Focus School in Athens and then at Nottingham Trent University in the U.K. (1998-2004). From 2004-2005 she worked for Cinegram, a film production company based in Athens. As of 2005 she has been working as a freelance photographer. In 2012 she travelled in the Pacific Ocean with the group Pacific Voyagers, who seek a sustainable future by merging ancestral values and voyaging traditions with renewable energy. She lives and works in Athens.
The camera should be used for a recording of life,
for rendering the very substance and quintessence of the thing itself,
whether it be polished steel or palpitating flesh.
Natalia Tsoukala’s starting point is the natural world. Primordial forms and their ceaseless changes constitute the springboard of her artistic course. As often is the case in nature photography, the artist succumbs to nature’s allure and accentuates its aesthetic quality over content of the image. Natalia Tsoukala handles her digital lens as analogical, avoiding photograph processing, but rather praising the power of the non-directed moment. The scale of the works gradually shifts when the photographer’s lens focuses on the details that drew her interest. Photographs that present the veins of leaves, the formations of the sand and the corrosion of metals are exercises on the sum of the points of natural space. The microcosm that is transcribed reminds us of an infant’s first contact with the world. By detecting the world around her, the photographer forms and develops her own visual vocabulary.
With the passing of time and the abrasion with space, the artist overcomes the limitations imposed by specific motifs and explores the course and transformations of form. The interest gravitates towards morphological composition. In this quest, a shot can be inspired by any texture, natural or non, that changes under the play of light. From this point on, the photographer’s subjects become organic formations and the circumstances for their depiction are more controlled. “The information I draw from the object is purely visual” she says. The deconstruction of contours provides a distraction from a conventional reading of reality. Through this study on the purity of form the photographer’s perspective shifts from natural realism to abstract art.
Each object photographed attains a minimalistic, sculptural quality reminiscent of Edward Weston’s later work. Although the original intention was the appropriation of the intimate detail, as if one is looking through a microscope, the detail acquires the dynamics of the imposingly grand. The enlargement of the irreducibly minimum causes its’ elevation and the commonplace is transformed into unusual and exceptional. At the same time, as the photographer zooms in, she discloses the object’s configurations and fabrics. Each grain’s attributes, virtues, defects and constitution are exposed. Finally the accurate rendition of the fabric results in the recognition of the essence.
Insisting in bringing out a world beyond the obvious, Natalia Tsoukala keeps her works untitled. The picture invites the viewer to guess the actual object that has been photographed. This game, acting as an impromptu psychological Rorschach inkblot test, places the viewer in the position of the detector, previously held by the creator of the work. In order to interpret the artist’s intentions, the viewer is called to actively participate in a work that always remains open-ended. As in the Rorschach method, what one sees in the imprint is less important than the esoteric process that precedes the final answer.
Evita Tsokanta Art Historian Athens, August 2010