“Greece as Photograph: Histories, Photographies, Theories”

Moschovi, Alexandra (2011) “Greece as Photograph: Histories, Photographies, Theories”. In: Greek (Hi)stories through the Lens: Photographs, Photographers and their Testimonies,, 8-11 June 2011, Safra Lecture Theatre, King's College, London. (In Press)

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Abstract

In 1941, Alison Frantz and Lucy Talcott, archaeologists and members of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, published a book for “the benefit of civilian aid” in occupied Greece. Contributed by the members of the School and their friends, the photographs of ancient stones and Byzantine monuments, of bucolic scenery and peasant life, of sun-blasted islands, indigenous architecture and customs that featured in the modestly produced but not so modestly entitled publication This is Greece were selected and edited together with ancient verses to evidence that “in Greece past and present [were] separated by no wide gulf”. Haunting the history of Modern Greece and feeding Europe’s Philhellene sentiments since the early 19th century, this belief in the “continuity of tradition” and the inseparability of “the two Greeces—the ancient and the modern” seemed to uniformly underline the travel books and illustrated tourist guides that were published under homonymous or suchlike titles in the late 1940s and 1950s, and which rebranded Greece as a must-see destination for the educated European traveler.
This paper argues that similar idea(l)s, thematic and/or morphological, not only informed the ways that Greek photographers, amateurs and professionals, visualized Greece and the “imagined community” of the Greek nation in the post-war years, but would also constitute the point of ideological, conceptual and aesthetic departure from the imag(in)ing of Greece “à ciel ouvert” in the work of succeeding generations. Three distinct moments in the history of Greek Photography, the 1950s, the 1980s and the 2000s, are cross-examined endeavouring to show how photography from a “nation-building tool” that afforded post-war generations with iconic images of Greekness in an era of political turbulence, would, in subsequent decades, challenge the preconceptions of collective consciousness about national identity and associated motivations, historical narrative and factuality, and as such, at its most elemental, the ontological premises of realism itself.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Keynote)
Additional Information: Speakers and chairs: Charlotte Roueché (Director, Centre for Hellenic Studies, King’s College London); Jan Palmowski (Head, School of Arts and Humanities, King’s College London); Katerina Zacharia (Loyola Marymount University); Frederick Bohrer (Hood College); Yannis Hamilakis (University of Southampton); Fotis Ifantidis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki); John Stathatos (Independent); Philip Carabott (King’s College London); Anna Simandiraki-Grimshaw (University of Bath); Fay Stevens (University College London); Lauren Talalay (University of Michigan); Penelope Papailias (University of Thessaly); Eleni Papargyriou (King’s College London); Aliki Tsirgialou (Benaki Museum); Heather Grossman (University of Illinois at Chicago); Yannis Papadopoulos (Panteion University); Laurie Kain Hart (Haverford College); Zacharenia Simandiraki (Historical Archives of Crete); Emmanuel Seiragakis (University of Crete); Mathilde Pyrli (Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive); Theodoros Chiotis (University of Oxford); Yannis Skopeteas (University of the Aegean); Erato Basea (University of Oxford); Eduardo Cadava (Princeton University); Gregory Paschalidis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece); Nathalie Patricia Soursos (University of Vienna); Kostis Kornetis (Brown University); Eleni Kouki (University of Athens); Richard Clogg (University of London); Constantina Vassalou (Panteion University, Greece); Georgios Giannakopoulos (Queen Mary University of London); Alice James (Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania); Marie Mauzy (Independent); Charles Stewart (University College London); Elena Mamoulaki (National Technical University of Athens); Laurie Kain Hart (Haverford College); Barbara Dawn Smith (Independent); Ludmilla Jordanova (King’s College London; Dimitris Papanikolaou (University of Oxford); Estelle Sohier (University of Geneva); Katerina Kralova (Charles University, Prague); Penelope Petsini (University of Patras); Vangelis Ioakeimidis (Thessaloniki Museum of Photography); Margaret Kenna (Swansea University); Costis Antoniadis (Technical University, Athens); Konstantinos Kalantzis (University College London); Roland Moore (Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation); Nicholas Pappas (University of New South Wales)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Documentary photography, ethnography, photographic realism, history of Greek Photography, Greek history and politics, cultural geographies, nationalism, national identity
Subjects: Fine Art > Art History
Photography > Digital Imaging
Photography > Documentary Photography
Culture > History and Politics
Photography > Photography
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Alexandra Moschovi
Date Deposited: 29 Feb 2012 11:40
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2017 13:03
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/2756

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