11x11 = ?
It is possible that the first education I got into travelling came from the comic albums of the travels of Asterix from Goscinny and Uderzo and the adventures of Tintin from Hergé that I was reading in childhood. Later, I got fascinated by the unbelievable stories and the obscure illustrations shared by the early explorers and journeymen, like our Odysseus and Marco Polo and my idealism about travelling was formed.
Growing up in our times, I realised that travelling has become much easier and accessible. You can virtually experience a desination to every small detail without leaving the doorstep of your home, just by using the constantly updated internet information. I therefore decided to ignore travel guides. I anyway disliked the instructional character of those books. It seemed that the safety of following their recommendations reduces the potentiality to acquire understanding in a personal level and in addition the probability of those small miracles and mishaps of travelling to happen. Instead of the solid information provided by the travelling industry, I tried to use references coming from my favourite movies, the novels I read, songs, the news, and of course the traditional source of so much travelling information, random stories told in a bar.
After travelling with photography for many years and building up my photographs, an appropriate starting point was necessary to organise this fabrication. A friend with a good knowledge in numerology pointed out the significance of the number eleven. The subsequent research into resources and bibliography with classifications devoted to the number eleven returned with a momentous one: “eleven is the first number which cannot be represented by a human counting his or her eight fingers and two thumbs additively, and actually requires as an alternative for the human to count additively including the toes”. (Where I actually understood that eleven is the first number that requires that a human counting removes his/her shoes.)
Nevertheless, the focal point for the organisation of this project was found:
Eleven travelling journals consisting of eleven photographs each.
1)American Photographs, 2)Turkey in the light, 3)In Portugal, 4)Bohemian Photographs, 5)Sicilian Summer, 6)Around the Baltic Sea,7)In the Land of the Finns, 8)Trip to Iceland, 9)Polish Work,10)About Spain, 11)From Berlin.
The common coefficient in each journal is the stories from my journey. Told through the freedom of exploration on the viewing angle; landscape together with portrait, close up next to street photography, black and white along with colour, all in a unity facilitated by the choice of the prime (undividable) number eleven.
The final state of this project was a compilation of all the booklets in one book which is called ‘11x11’ and is introduced by Anurag Jain.
extract from from the introduction to ‘11x11’ by Anurag Jain
“With his Cyclops glare, the photographer remains alone and solitary—even and in fact particularly when surrounded by friends. Their eye nakedly caresses everything, touching nothing. Only with attention, the way a child tentatively lifts the shell to its ears, may we begin to hear in their silences the stories that are kept like secrets in the corridors of photographs. It is after ten years of searching, smoking, sleeping, eating, queuing, flying, driving and drinking that Thanasis Lomef Zacharopoulos has finally decided to collect and share his lies.”
The book 11x11 ( 164 pages,121 photographs ) and the eleven individual booklets ( 26 pages, 11 photographs )
can be previewed and even bought if you liked them here.