Day 9: on the way back to Greece, August 2015 to. @burndiary from @margauxhelleu
burn is an online feature for emerging photographers worldwide. burn is curated by magnum photographer david alan harvey.
Day 9: on the way back to Greece, August 2015 to. @burndiary from @margauxhelleu
Hello sorry I could not post yesterday I was on the sea the hole day with no possibility of connection… So today I will do a bit of yesterday s picture and today as well to catch up … Day 8: sea in Greece, Tilos August 2015
On the way to Greece, to @burndiary from @margauxhelleu . Day 6: Fethiye, Turkey, august 2015
ESSAY CONTAINS EXPLICIT CONTENT
Hundreds, thousands, hidden in the abandoned industrial areas that surround the port of Patras or in the old disused train station in the centre of Corinth.
I found them in the “urban holes” that dot the landscape of an Athens wounded by the crisis. They are the kids I followed for this project, some of whom are very young. After desperate journeys, they arrive from the wars which have tormented their countries in recent years. But war, for them, was only the beginning of the tragedy.
Those who come from the Middle East and Central Asia are trying to reach Europe, the land I am lucky enough to call home, through its eastern door, Greece. They then get stuck there, amidst increasingly harsh security checks and racism which tragically often degenerates into neo-Nazi violence. For many, there is the hope of being able to rebuild the sort of life that would be impossible in their countries.
The young Afghans I met are mainly fleeing the forced militarization practiced by the Taliban in Afghanistan, subsequent to the war that affected the country in 2001. For many others who are fleeing a scorching North Africa in revolt, the hope is to have recognized the rights denied by the radicalization of the violence in their country of origin. Persecution for religious and ethnic reasons, or due to political opinion, could allow them to obtain refugee status in other European Union countries, but certainly not in Greece.
For this reason, they are forced to hide, because having a Greek police record would mean the end of the dream of safe reception in Europe. I learned that this is set out by the Dublin Regulation, the EU law with responsibility for granting asylum. According to the regulation, the country where a person is first identified is the country that has the duty and right to decide whether to grant refugee status or not, irrespective of where the application for asylum is made.
Alessandro Penso studied clinical psychology at Rome’s La Sapienza University. In 2007, he received a scholarship to study photojournalism at the “Scuola Romana di Fotografia”. Since completing his studies, his work has won several awards, including the PDN Photo Student Award, the PDN Photo Annual Award, Px3, the Project Launch Award in Santa Fe 2011, and the Terry O’ Neill TAG Award 2012, Sofa Global Award 2013, 1st General News of World press Photo and Magnum Foundation Emergency Found. Alessandro is deeply committed to social issues, and in recent years he has been focusing on the issue of immigration in the Mediterranean. Mediterranean countries are providing an outlet for the phenomena of cultural closure, xenophobia and violence, which represent, for migrants, an insurmountable obstacle to their enjoyment of even the most basic human rights.
The centre of Athens, as I first remember it, was full of life.
During the period before the Olympic Games, there was great development. New hotels appeared in order to host the visitors, shops, restaurants and cafes kept sprouting out, it was full of people everywhere. All this happened within a few years. It was as if the city put on new clothes. During the days of the Olympics, the city was clean and well-guarded. You would not see street- merchants, drug-addicts or immigrants, just tourists and people who came in order to have a good time. In my eyes, it looked like another place.
As time passed, the city started deteriorating and gradually recovered its previous character: the everyday life that we all knew, with the junkies, the street-merchants, the the immigrants and the prostitutes.
Time passes fast. The city is now fading. Some people abandon it due to the crisis. Many shops and hotels have shut down, the centre is now almost deserted. People fear they will get ripped-off, they hear that this happens all the time. They no longer feel like going out and wandering about like before. They even fear seeing all the poverty and destitution, they drug-users who will rip you off for their shot, the women prostituting themselves.
But for me, those people were always there. I found them all there when I first arrived as a 9-year old child. They were always there when I was growing up. They are somehow trapped in their lives, subsisting in terrible circumstances, in squalid houses with insufficient hygiene.
The immigrants live in small rooms that they rent, many of them together, without much hope. The women prostitute themselves even in the streets for 5€. You don’t want to run into them in the street. Yet, hanging around with them has been my daily routine. This way, it was easier to approach them. They are sensitive people with a lot of problems, with ruined families behind them. Sometimes they give the impression that no one has cared for them. As if they want someone to talk to, as if they want to get out of the misery they are in. For some of them I had the sense that they were almost looking for someone to open up to and take it all out. Like confessing. What made an impression on me was that they often opened up and talked as if they knew me. Sometimes they talked about difficult things, about what they were experiencing, as if they were talking about someone else. Almost as if they felt better this way.
I would only shoot when I sensed that they were more comfortable, after some time had passed. Sometimes, unexpected things happened, and made me change the plan I had in mind. Other times, things just happened spontaneously, and I was just following along. The images I have selected are stronger for me, because I know the story behind them.
I have been working on this project since 2011. My work is still in progress. When others looks at those pictures I want them to feel respect and dignity for the subjects. Like I do.
Enri Canaj was born in Tirana, Albania, in 1980. He spent his early childhood there and moved with his family to Greece in 1991, immediately after the opening of the borders. He is based in Athens and covers stories in Greece and the Balkans.
He studied photography at the Leica Academy in Athens. In 2007 he took part in a British Council project on migration, attending a year-long workshop with Magnum photographer Nikos Economopoulos.
Since 2008, he has been a freelance photographer for major publications such as Time Magazine Lightbox, Newsweek, Le monde Diplomatique (German edition),TO VIMA, TA NEA, Tachydromos and VIMAGAZINO. A sample of his work has been exhibited at the Cultural Foundation of the National Bank of Greece in Athens and Salonica, at the Bilgi Santral in Istanbul, the European Parliament in Brussels and the Athens Photo Festival.
He has been working in the Balkans, mainly Kosovo and Albania, as well as Greece, focusing on migration and the recent crisis.
Greece in Reverse
Well this is panos (tamale)… I need to be honest with everyone about everything…She (Vissaria) photographs everything with a little kodak $100 camera…(maybe couple photos used my old D50 to shoot my “middle finger” photo, (yes that ugly middle finger is mine:), no fancy stuff..no photoshop, no photo mechanic, no aperture, no fancy canons, nikons, leicas, smeicas…blah blah blah… I need to make it VERY VERY CLEAR… i NEVER ever MENTORED HER in any way…I never even tried to teach her how to turn the camera on (maybe because i didn’t want another venice beach homeless photographer in the making…laughing). If i influenced her in any way is because she would always see me with a camera around my neck, or my computer screen would permanently “stuck” on the BURN MAGAZINE webpage…Maybe we watched couple of burn essays here and there, if that….Not that i know for sure but i believe that she was conceived in Venice Beach….she is a little bit of an outlaw and very stubborn, smiling… So anyway, once again she practically lived half of her life in the plastic, fake , glamorous California and the rest half of her life (REMEMBER AGAIN, SHE IS ONLY 10 YEARS OLD little girl) in tortured Greece, in the small town called Arta…How funny? (ART)a… a little town that believe me that was nothing to do with art… but a lot to do with recession….I believe that after Vissaria moved from the Golden State to the Broken State, that definitely affected her…you will see that in her photos…Two things (i believe) “drive” her… Love and compassion…Im sure her heart breaks when she watches little starving homeless kids in her little town…Greece that ended up being something like our Detroit or Venice Beach…
ok, enough…i definitely failed to “describe” her personality but its all good..look at her essay/photos and the music she chosen is from a school choir…i will translate the song lyrics later..ok…done talking…
Ladies and gentlemen please enjoy the YOUNGEST and most TALENTED photog i ever met…My little niece Vissaria
(btw, her work is work in progress of course…so be patient there must be more coming up..Im thinking to use my next unemployment check and buy her a real Leica…laughing)
10 years old, little girl
Born in Santa Monica, LA, California, currently living in Greece… She loves ballet and music (flute)… Never worked a day in her life…laughing… only because the law forbids/prevents 10 year olds from working … In reality she is a HARD WORKER just like her mom… Vissaria started photographing and painting at age 5… currently recording the recession in Greece…
Wandering in Greece
…I lived half of my life in Grecolandia…& half in Los Angeles….
Half of my life i was dressed up in sheep-skin and half of my life in plastic…
Half of my life i was riding donkeys and half driving wild mustangs…
Half of my life i was staring mustaches and half staring at platinum blond highlights..
It wasn’t curiosity that brought me back…im not here anyways but i’m not there either…
Homer made it back to Penelope..Made it back to Ithaca…
but Homer was a lier in the end..He lied to please the king…
but Kavafis…ahhh Kavafis told the truth…Its all about the travel..not the destination…
it’s the doomed , the holy trip to that imaginary Ithaca…the El Dorado does not exist…
it’s the search for the El Dorado that counts…
When i left from the “sheep” city to find my “el dorado” i made it to the “plastic” city…
Half of my life i was believing in Homer…
Half of my life later i realized that there are no El Dorados..Its just a vast endless ocean ahead..
that leads nowhere but …but im not afraid anymore..i can accept it now..im not scared..
Things dont change..but we do..
Almost a month ago my boat decided to revisit…
Highway 61 Revisited as my good friend Bob Dylan said…
Above (essay) is what i saw..how i got connected with Grecolandia in the period of a month…
I’m riding a tired donkey once again…
I left my pirate ship back in venice beach to take a break…
Now im on the fast lane of that Grecolandia Highway 61 , speeding…on a slow donkey..
Reuniting, reconnecting with my family…
whats not to love?
Enjoy…because i dont know how long my “donkey” will last…
Panos Skoulidas bio,
the story of “Till Eulenspiegel”…
…According to the tradition, he was born in Grecolandia around 1300. He travelled through the Holy Roman Empire (Americanlandia , especially Northern US, but also the Low Countries, Bohemia, and Grecolandia. He is presented as a trickster or fool who played practical jokes on his contemporaries, exposing vices at every turn, greed and folly, hypocrisy and foolishness…With Eulenspiegel’s death occurs the entry of the embodied trickster-animus into the medium of things spiritual, the form of existence of pure spirituality so that the soul has seen through itself by way of its own spirituality and knows itself as living spiritual life: Eulenspiegel is still alive.The literal translation of the High German name “Eulenspiegel” gives “owl mirror”, two symbols that identify Till Eulenspiegel in crude popular woodcuts. However, the original Low German is believed to be ul’n Spegel, meaning “wipe the arse”.
Comments are wide open on this essay.. Panos will surely jump in whenever he can..
Many thanks… david alan harvey
Untitled, Greece by Young Tom
“Out of the sea, as if Homer himself had arranged it for me, the islands bobbed up, lonely, deserted, mysterious in the fading light. I couldn’t ask for more, nor did I want any thing more. I had everything a man could desire, and I knew it. I knew too that I might never have it again.”
The Colossus of Maroussi
The very first thing that I saw in Skopje was the construction of a 25-meter tall figure of a warrior on horseback which, from what I later found out, was the statue of Alexander the Great. In 2010 the government of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia started an extensive project to revamp first the capital and then the entire country into the sense of connection with its alleged ancient roots.
Alexander the Great, one of the most recognized and powerful rulers in the history was acclaimed the father of present Macedonian nation. However, modern Macedonia is a young post-Yugoslav, poorly developed country. Dream of the lost nobility was the spark that ignited minds on the both sides of the border. Over 2000 years after the collapse of the empire two countries started the dispute of origins and history as distant as illusory. But generations already been born as Macedonians, within two countries and three geographical Macedonias. Greece was strongly opposing any claims of the piece of history that, they believe, is exclusively Greek heritage.
In order to protect its cultural consistence the government blocked foreign policy of the neighbor affecting isolation of the Republic of Macedonia. What was supposed to elevate the rising nation to its dignity broke its spine while the elected authority radicalized and began to rise concerns about the rule of the law within the country. Macedonian government engaged considerable public funds and serious propaganda apparatus to reinvent the tradition and stimulate national consciousness. Would it be even possible to create the hybrid identity and the establishing myth to give the nation its pride, by erecting monuments made of bronze or plaster? That leads to crucial questions such as what do constitute modern nations or who owns the antiquity – which is also the foundation of the western society.
However the Macedonian question remains unanswered.
Michal Siarek , Born in 1991, Siarek is a documentary photographer, student at cinematography department at PWSFTviT in Lodz, Poland. Fascinated by the Balkan Peninsula issues he has spent three years on his debut essay “Alexander” focused on myths, identity and nationalism in one of the ex-Yugoslav republic. Nominee for the 2016 Joop Swart Masterclass, he’s the co-founder of Paper Beats Rock publishing house.
Day 9: Hike back in Greece today where i found some amazing places thinking of what it could of have been before. Lots of ruins and history which I really enjoy as well.. To @burndiary from @margauxhelleu