The French photographer’s latest book explores Athens as an oxymoronic city, split between its rich mythological history and stark political-economic situation
Born in Athens in 1960, Yannis Behrakis was inspired to take up photography after chancing across a Time-Life photobook as a young man. Going on to study photography in Athens and at Middlesex University in the UK, he starting work for Reuters in 1987, and by 1989 had been sent on his first foreign assignment – Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, where he quickly made his name.
“He quickly displayed a knack for being in the right place at the right time,” reports Reuters’ site The Wider Image. “When Gaddafi visited a hotel where journalists had been cooped up for several days, a scrum of reporters crowded around the Libyan leader to get pictures and soundbites.
‘I somehow managed to sneak next to him and get some wide-angle shots,’ Behrakis wrote. ‘The next day my picture was all over the front pages of papers around the world.’”
“I believe that collective memory and individual experience, politics and personal beliefs, are interrelated,” says Yorgos Yatromanolakis, and it’s easy to see why. Born in Crete in 1986, he got into photography in December 2008 because he wanted to document the riots that broke out in Greece after a 15 year-old, Alexandros Grigoropoulos, was shot dead by the police. Shot in grainy black-and-white and printed by Yatromanolakis, the resulting images were later self-published as a book, Roadblock to Normality.
“Roadblock to Normality is a small, personal, but at the same time collective notebook emanating from my participation in political and social movements in my country,” says Yatromanolakis. “It certainly captures, in a subjective way, some critical political events.”
Since 2012, Temps Zero has matched emerging photographers and cutting-edge music, creative “a sonic and visual experience” that has popped up in Paris, Berlin, Athens, Rome, and many more. No two performances are alike, but the project is overseen by Stéphane Charpentier, a French photographer currently based in Athens.
Temps Zero’s next outing is in Vienna during Foto Wien 2019, with a photo projection in the Schikaneder Kino on 23 March, 24 March and 13 April accompanied by a soundtrack record by Alyssa Moxley, plus a photography show in the cinema. Guest-curated by Damien Daufresne and Kunstnetzwerk, the show includes images by French photographers Gaël Bonnefon and Gabrielle Duplantier, Italian photographers Marco Marzocchi and Lorenzo Castore, and Swedish photographers Theo Elias and Martin Bogren
Publications we loved, and the big news stories from the last month in photobooks, including American Winter by Gerry Johansson, Void’s Hunger project, and JA Mortram’s Small Town Inertia
Our pick of the key stories from the past week, including Paris’ Circulation(s) festival of emerging European photography, the first-ever Kyiv Photo Book festival, and Todd Hido’s Bright Black World
The overwhelming sense of being surrounded by people yet feeling alone among them is a well documented facet of city life. And even if you are among the 46 percent of the world’s population living in a rural environment, you’ll be familiar with the emblematic image of urban disconnection in which tower blocks loom over bustling streets filled with scurrying figures. But what happens when the day is over and each individual retreats into their home for a moment of calm after the storm? London-based photographer Aristotle Roufanis is fascinated by this experience of collective solitude. Trained as a civil engineer, he has an affinity for the urban structures that characterise major cities all over the world.
Petros Koublis has responded to Greece’s economic crisis by focusing his lens on the countryside surrounding Athens. For him, exploring his homeland’s natural landscape was the instinctual way to reflect on and probe the effects of the financial crisis, he says. The idea for In Landscapes came to him in November 2012, and was born from a personal need to explore “the difficult times we’re going through today”. He explains: “I wanted to avoid the narrative of violence and its graphic representation in news reports. The landscapes provided me with an abstract language through which I was not only able to emotionally express the crisis of our days with dignity, but also reach for something universal.” In doing so, Koublis hoped to emphasise the differences between nature and the city, and also touch upon how the beauty of nature can provide solace in turbulent times. “The series is an evaluation of our lives, the need for an escape, and the despair of not knowing exactly where to turn,” he says. “Nature provides a way out, an escape …