Landscape photography can offer us three verities: geography, autobiography, and metaphor. What a landscape photographer traditionally tries to do is to show what is past, present, and future at once.1*
Few cities can claim continuous historical presence over two millennia. Born out of a fortunate interplay of historical conditions, economic necessity, geographical factors, and a moment of insight, Thessaloniki has been recounted as oriental and European at the same time, while Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Ottomans, Jews, Turks, Armenians, Slavs, Levantines, French, and British all walked its streets, leaving a part of them behind. Merchants and soldiers, monks and administrators, wealthy aristocrats and city beggars equally shaped the destiny of Thessaloniki with their presence, their hopes and aspirations during their ephemeral passage. Some thrived, others perished, and if one looks closely, one can find their traces on the contemporary urban scenery.
I, myself, grew up in this city, in the eastern part. I used to walk home after school along the seafront, or later in life go downtown to study, work, or meet friends. I remember the place stifling hot in summer, freezing cold in winter, completely empty when it rained, or full of people at sunset walking back and forth, waiting for the evening breeze to cool the air. I remember the sea always on my side every time I wandered around, like an ever-present compass, pointing to the right direction in just a glimpse.
Yet, this city’s finest moment comes when it wears its cloak: the fog arrives as if summoned to calm the cityscape, bring out its memories, and reveal its true beauty. The mountains in the west and the gulf fade away, the city pace slows down, allowing people to perceive it in a different way: there is no horizon nor colors to define time; past and present intertwine even if only for a moment. My moment. There, in front of my eyes, Ι feel there lies an opportunity to connect with what was here before, to understand what is of true value and to imagine what there will be.
“You need ghosts, the daily news, and prophecy.”
1California: views by Robert Adams of the Los Angeles basin, 1978-1983, Fraenkel Gallery San Francisco, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, 2000.
b. 1973, Paris, France
A photographer and architect based in Athens. He studied photography in Athens and architecture in Thessaloniki, Greece. He subsequently pursued a graduate degree at the University of London, and completed his Ph.D. at the School of Art and Design of the University of Derby, UK. His photographic work has been published in a number of books on landscape and architectural photography. He was also a lecturer in photography at the School of Architecture, University of Thessaly from 2008 to 2011. He exhibits his work in solo and group exhibitions in Greece and abroad. His work focuses on the interface of nature and culture. He photographs human-altered landscapes under transition and is interested in the dynamics of change. His research interests include the process of beautification of landscape in contemporary photography, the construction of identity through lived-in space. In 2008, supported by a Fulbright scholarship, he travelled the US by car from East to West and back focusing on the American landscape and how its visitor-user perceives it. He recently participated in the Venice Biennial of Architecture with large scale works of the city of Athens and since 2007 he is the official photographer of the construction of the Stavros Niarchos foundation Cultural Center.