If we exclude the iconic Acropolis, covered in snow this January, and the White Tower basking in the afternoon light of Thessaloniki, the remaining 13 aerial photographs that feature in the open-air exhibition on the fencing of the Athens Concert Hall are making passers-by stop and wonder the whereabouts of the location shown the picture. Many appear to be seeing the places for the first time, and yet all of them are in Greece.
“I see how surprised they are,” says photographer and artistic director of Athens Photo World, Thanasis Stavrakis, commenting on the reactions of the first spectators at the launch of the photographic exhibition, “Flying Over the Country.”
The images are indeed impressive, and the shots from above, taken by a drone, highlight the beauties of the country. Many heads are turned for a second look, even by passengers in the passing buses, as the prints are 1 by 1.5m and cover the entire perimeter of the Megaron.
It is the second time that photography with Greek themes “envelopes” the Megaron – the first being in 2021 – but this year the exhibition showcases the work of active photojournalists, “rightfully, since they were the first to work with drones,” explains Mr. Stavrakis, while two amateur photographers are also participating.
“We are presenting images that are of photographic interest, monothematic, and ‘clean,’ so that the viewer can get to know Greek locations from angles that are different to how they’re usually viewed, while recording, in a creative way, the four seasons of the year in Greece.”
The images project a landscape to explore for anyone who wants to discover the place depicted in the frame. This is the primary aim of this photographic journey, depicting places that are both recognizable and not, especially now that – after two years of confinement – being restricted to home and to life in the city has tired us. Our gaze rightly seeks to escape and rise high.
With the help of technology and the excellent technical image quality provided by digital media, these artistic “flights” succeed on the one hand in taking a contemporary look at the Greek landscape and, on the other, in renewing the photographic landscape. Besides, no matter how objective the recording may be, it is the subjectivity of the artist’s gaze behind the lens that reveals to us the true power of the landscape.
The photographs featured in the exhibition are by: Vasilis Ververidis, Marilena Karatza, Dimitris Melenikiotis, Vaggelis Bougiotis, Antonis Nikolopoulos, Yannis Spyrounis, Nikos Chalkiopoulos and Thomas Chrisohoidis.
The 15 photographs will remain on display throughout the summer of 2022, along the outer fencing of the Megaron. In the autumn, as every year, Athens Photo World will donate them to schools in Greece.
This article was previously published in Greek at kathimerini.gr.