It was almost 180 years ago when American scientist John William Draper took the first clear daguerreotypes of astral bodies. But as acquainted as we may now be with images of space released by observatories around the world, there is still something about them than never fails to inspire awe.
The exhibition of astrophotography by Fanis Matsopoulos, “Between Heaven and Earth,” currently on at the Eugenides Foundation near Athens’s southern coast, is no exception. Images of astral objects photographed through a telescope join shots of landscapes and archaeological sites under star-studded nighttime skies, as well as images captured by the Athens Observatory.
Together with around 50 new photographs, Matsopoulos also presents his first planetarium show, making him one of the youngest creators of full-dome films in the world.
The digital show “A Journey to the Universe” is, according to its creator, a “complete documentary” lasting 42 minutes, which includes “absolutely real images from some of the biggest telescopes in the world.” Matsopoulos gathered and processed the material and directed the film. The script, however, was written by his father, Nikos Matsopoulos, an astronomer at the Athens Observatory and supervisor of the Visitors’ Center at the Pendeli Observatory in northern Athens. The film, which is aimed at students and adults, provides information about the structure of the universe, our solar system and the history of astronomy.
Matsopoulos was born in 1991 and studied electrology. He taught himself photography and has already managed to build something of a reputation as an astrophotographer, publishing his work in international magazines and posting videos on websites such as those of the European Southern Observatory and ESA-Hubble Space Telescope. He has also held a number of exhibitions in Greece and was invited to participate with six photographs at the INDIA Astrophoto Festival in New Delhi.
“Astrophotography is very developed in Greece,” says Matsopoulos. “For such a small country there really are a lot of amateur astrophotographers, some of them very good in fact, and this comes as a surprise abroad.”
The works he is showing at the Eugenides have not undergone any form of technical processing other than color highlighting. Those of deep space were taken with long periods of exposure to capture the details and hues that cannot be seen by the naked eye, explains the young photographer.
Eugenides Foundation, 379 Syngrou, tel 210.946.9600. The exhibition runs through April 30.