vissaria skoulida – greece in reverse

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Vissaria Skoulida

Greece in Reverse

play this essay


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 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…


101 Responses to “vissaria skoulida – greece in reverse”

  • Congratulations young lady! This was just wonderful. Wonderful!

  • Refreshingly honest and unself-conscious. A fine eye that picks up on the uniqueness of the ordinary. A chip off the old block (of her Uncle Panos). The real deal! Congratulations, Vissaria. Keep going, going, going…

  • oh my god….i have an early flight to LA but….let me stop crying and i will say more about little Vissaria…my niece…:)
    (see the artist on the photo no:20 photo of my last years essay….)

  • I am mind-blown. Wonderful! How many photographers spend years studying in the best of schools, apprenticing with pros – and never achieve what Vissaria has achieved here?

  • wonderful love it ……………… cheers …..

  • I wished I had an eye like yours. Great pictures.
    However the mixture of b/w and color in the same picture makes me think you should not let Panos come close to your pictures ;-)

    Keep it up. Congratulations to being published on burn.

  • Thomas…:)..i had no idea…
    She sent me a youtube link a week ago…i started crying like a baby…then i instantly submitted to burn,,,
    next thing you know, DAH sends me a message: THAT IS AMAZING….the rest is history…she worked on picasa…she edit herself and just created a youtube link from the automated button…and boom…
    the only thing David asked me to do is take out two photos of VISSARIA’S original movie…i (we) didnt do anything else …even the sequence and choice of song is all VISSARIA…
    and a big thank you to Anna-Maria, Haik and Anton that helped convert the youtube mp4 to quicktime (stuff that Vissaria wouldnt know how to deal with anyway…technical stuff)
    other than that, photos, sequence, edit : its all VISSARIA 100%…THANK YOU ALL…
    tonight im the proudest unvle in this universe…

  • i meant to say “uncle”…

  • Simply beautiful… Congratulations Vissaria!!! You are a beauty and an artist !! Panos, Maria, your parents, you can be proud :)

    Big hugs from France, audrey

  • a civilian-mass audience

    “To be nobody but yourself in a world that’s doing its best to make you somebody else, is to fight the hardest battle you are ever going to fight. Never stop fighting.”
    E. E. Cummings (American poet 1894-1962)
    kido…just a suggestion from an old Greek civilian…
    Be humble,listen and respect what others have to say,do your best,“learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can “…

    VIVA VISSARIA…we might live in broken Grecolandia,”greece in Reverse” But with a spirit like yours…we can go only forward…
    thank you and we love you!!!

    P.S …sometimes… All we need is someone to believe in Us…

  • ah ha – love it..
    someone is inspired by their uncle.. be gently proud my friend, and visit the old country again soon. :o)

  • thinking on this again – 10 years old or 100 is irrelevant i think.
    some struggle to reflect their lives.. perhaps even work too hard.. results can be contrived.. forced..
    not so here.

    if it’s good i think it ends up looking effortless – because the photographer takes to it like a duck to water. vissaria has achieved something of an “effortless” look.. eeeeeasy for some :o)

    little moments of magic here, now, uncle P has to sort out print sales ..

    warmest congratulations to vissaria !
    keep on photographing.

  • What amazes me most here are not the picture themselves, but the sequencing.. and what a ten year old kid sees around herself.. mostly scary if you really think of it.. tell about taking a deeper look and not just floating on the surface..

    Civi is right, with kids like lil Vissaria around, there’s hope.. :)

  • @PANOS: Yes, the proudest uncle! That’s is! 10 years old WOW!!
    There is a melange of greats photographers… I see DAH, Antoine D’Agata, Alessandra Sanguinetti (the one of the kids in the bench). And agree with FostFrog, not necessary to go to a photographic school!!
    Geez, forget about CIRCUS Magazine, we are ALL in the same group.


  • Oh, Lovely lovely … !
    Her heart is clear like crystal… :))

    She makes me happy smiling…
    Thank you, Vissaria.

  • Wonderful, just wonderful!
    Very fresh – yet so wise!

    Congrats to you, VISSARIA, and to the proud uncle of course! ;-))

  • Vissaria:

    I’m quite charmed by your work, and was wondering if you will be putting on any workshops in North America in the near future? I’d love to attend.

    At first I found your essay to be derivative of – but then departed from – Carmen Soth’s work for the Brighton Biennial. Maybe it has to do with your somewhat unique four foot tall perceptive that the two of you share.

    I especially like the goose’s head shot…and the boat. Good luck with your future work, congratulations on being published here…and make sure Unzle Panos makes good on his promise to quit smoking!!!

    Kind regards,

  • congrats Vissaria :))

    love it, very much…especially the sequence….and a couple of the pictures just stopped me dead cold: the extraordinary duck/swan shot!!!! :)))…

    … the bike shot, all the shadow shots, the shots of your sneakers and then of toes, the yellow puppy shot, the 2 kids shot in color on bench (CIVI’S GRANDCHILDREN AT HIS WINERY??)..and all the pics of YOU :)))

    as a father of an equally talented young photographer, i don’t have to remind you: DO NOT GROW UP!…and don’t listen to grownups…especially when it comes to photography!

    stay the person (and photographer) you are….

    maybe you and Carmen Soth indeed can meet, i have her book, now awaiting yours :)))

    big congrats :))


    p.s. Panos, can i return you book now for Vissaria?? ;))))

  • Vissaria…
    What a beautiful name! What an overwhelmingly beautiful set of images. Funny, how we boring grown-ups forget to see that way!
    Although you seem to see a little more than most kids!
    Don´t you dare ever grow up ! And if a kid in green tights comes along and tries to snatch you away off to Neverland, don´t you dare go with him… Tell him you are part of BURN!! …don´t let it even cross your mind… you´ll break your uncle´s heart. Although I´m sure your uncle will make Captain Hook proud!

    Anyway back to the images! WOW, WOW, AND WOW!! They are so special I am sure Mr Jim Powers is also going fall in love with them…Smiling.
    You are so good you want to make me give up photography…Grinning.
    BTW my seven year old son says “Thank you!!” Today I am not little grumpy that once again my (his?)G10 sitting beside me has all it´s screws missing except for one… everyday he manages to convince to let him shoot his walk to school and sometimes I “forget” to ask for it back when he goes into classroom. I think I am going take his photography much more seriously than mine!!
    Brilliant and marvellous PLEASE don´t change!


    it is no secret that if everyone could tap into their childhood, they would realize their highest artistic dreams…i say this to photographers at every opportunity….growing up and taking on responsibilities of adulthood usually decreases the artistic side of most…learning the rules is necessary for melding into society , but does zero for artistic sensibilities…my role often as a mentor is to get photographers to unlearn first…little Vissaria is the perfect example of what would happen if we created CIRCUS for the real emerging photographers under 16..or maybe Patricio is right…we just let the very young land here whenever it is appropriate…my original feeling was that CIRCUS would be way better than BURN…

    cheers, david

  • a civilian-mass audience

    Dear Mr.David A.Harvey,uncle Πανος and Burn photographers,

    Thank you for everything.I like your pictures.I can not see them all because there is a parental control button.

    Uncle P.,you messed it up.It’s okey.I work with Picasa 3.I think my parents and my grandparents will be happy and I hope they will buy me a good camera.Now,I have to study.

    UncleP and Kim,mommy says to call home when you will be in Venice.

    Κυριε HARVEY ευχαριστω πολυ.I will try my best.

    With Love

    Again,thank you,thank you,thank you,thank you.
    I have lot’s of pictures.I started taking pictures since I was a little kid.I am happy, I will be 10 in June.(I had many mistakes but my mom helped me with this letter).

  • a civilian-mass audience

    this is the letter from the Little VISSARIA…

    Thank you ALLL…their family have not access in the internet…right now

  • a civilian-mass audience

    but SKOULIDAS family e-mail…

    is…I just copy and paste…

  • a civilian-mass audience

    I just received another e-mail from the family…
    Please…admnin…maybe it’s not a good idea to have e-mail out there…
    hmm…my apologies…don’t shoot the messenger…

  • a civilian-mass audience

    ok,they will try to make her an account…
    she can register…I hope so the SKOULIDAS can talk…direct…

    where is MR.PANOSSSSS…???
    He can help them out…I am not good with tech.

  • This is beautiful….
    and for some reason has brought tears….
    maybe its seeing myself at 10 with my camera,
    maybe its the unfiltered vision of a 10 year old…
    maybe its the sweet music…..
    maybe its having a daughter….
    It doesn’t matter
    it touched me…
    in a beautiful way……

    thank you to BuRN for publishing this…..
    age does NOT matter

    and Panos is her uncle…….


    thank you for sharing your pictures with us…while many here are calling you a very young photographer, i just see you as a photographer….you are obviously discovering your world in the most interesting way…pretty funny how the world looks somehow a bit different when studying it through a viewfinder…i have often been very curious why this is so…

    i can see that you have already noticed that when you pick the camera up, everything seems just more intense, maybe even magical…i would wish for you that life always seems like this because of you and your relationship to photography….because it is not about the camera at all, but about how you live your life and choose to document..

    no matter which way the wind blows or which roads you choose to travel, you will always have this knowledge with you…you can turn any day, any place, any time , into something so special…now that is magic!!

    i am also wishing we may meet someday Vissaria…you can show me around your neighborhood…and where the best pictures are of course….please

    cheers, hugs, david

  • I wish you were thirteen and living in Seattle as you could take my rock photography camp this spring and/or summer. You would be perfect!



  • Vissaria Skoulida

    Test ενα

  • Vissaria Skoulida

    Dear Mr.Harvey,

    you are famous now in my school. My friends want to meet you and the other photographers and of course
    my uncle. You are not going to like my neighborhood. It’s not very nice. I hope I will learn a lot from
    you and your friends.
    Thank you again.


    If you can read this, Mr.civi thank you for your help.

  • In the airport .. Landing in LA at 1:30pm local time..
    Phone off..
    VISSARIA I LOVE YOU… I will try to skype tonight:)

  • Re DAH’s comment on children/creativity etc, check out Ken Robinson’s Feb 2006 TED lecture on education and creativity. Very appropriate. Well done Vissaria. I wish I’d started at your age;-).


  • Vissaria Skoulida

    Panagioti,uncleP do not try tonight.
    we will not have internet.Bad weather.You can call tomorrow.
    Thank you .I love you.
    your greek friend helped us.

    Burn magazine:

    Thank you again for everything. I will try my best.

  • Wow what a way to start a new week. Thank you so much for your vision Vissaria.

  • who’s going to send a camera to greece then?


    i forgot to say something in my previous note to you…the most important thing…i love love the picture of the two kids sitting on the bench in what appears to be a park or orchard…i want this picture for my wall at home…

    for a print of your photograph i will trade with you for one of my own…your choice…signed of course as i would expect yours to be for me…

    many thanks in advance

    hugs, david

  • Vissaria…
    Are you enjoying all this fun tonight on Burn? Because I am and I bet your uncle is! :))
    Sparks and flashes of magic this is what the best dreams are made of.

  • Vissaria. good work. If you get your parents to send me an email with an address I think I have a nice little camera that should be perfect for you. I will send it to the land of moustaches for you.

  • Vissaria–

    your photos are very sweet and genuine.
    they made me smile.
    and remember.
    thank you. :)

  • JOHN GLADDY will do just that as well..

  • Just landed to the land of the “silicon” beauty:(….
    You guys made my little niece the happiest kid in Greece ..
    Thank you all..
    Humbled! Speechless

  • This is so utterly amazing and utterly moving.

    Vissaria, congratulations.

    I have two questions for you.
    1. Is that you singing? (awaiting Panos’ translation of the lyrics)
    2. The theme of locks and locked gates plays a big part in your essay. I also see a shadow self portrait, and feet, yours I assume. I would love to hear what you have to say about this.

    This is very beautiful personal story-telling. Bravo


    you are an astute man…was wondering about the locks myself , but was afraid to ask…


    cheers, david

  • Well, first of all, WOW.
    To have a something published at the age of ten is amazing. Congratulations.
    by looking at your work I see there are a lot of barriers, sadness, and poverty in Greece. There are also many beautiful things. history with beauty… perhaps, Greece has always been sad but like wine, gets better with age – the older things get better…

    Vissaria, you have a gift. you have the ability to see and a communicate your feelings and thoughts… Something many of us has to unlearn as David mentioned.


    Panos – Will you and Vissaria work on a collaborative project?

  • I missed an entire sentence!
    Vissaria, you have a gift. you have the ability to see and a communicate your feelings and thoughts…

    – That is something that many adults unconsciously learn to push aside to get through their busy schedules. –

    Something many of us has to unlearn as David mentioned.

  • There is purity and naivety in childhood.
    However, the complexity and gravity of what goes on in the heads of children is no different from adults.
    As parents, we cultivate the illusion that childhood is a care-free time of innocence and joy. Remmembering back, childhood was not all innocence and joy.
    There are fears, depression, self-worth issues, fears about the invironment, in short, the same as us adults. Vissaria is making that abundantly clear here. She has bared her soul.
    Jason, thankyou for your reading here. Poverty, barriers, sadness, beauty.

  • was wondering about the locks myself , but was afraid to ask…

    there is a particular photo with a golden lock and a red sign translating: “we are closing our business before -they- shut us down”

    All the above depression started so suddenly last xmas…domino effect…pretty soon IMF “moved in”, took over, and rapidly the country started falling closing as fast as a blink of an eye..
    Greek news and tv is a lot different than the Fox channel over here..when Fox was declaring “victory” in greece-europe you could only see photos from guantanamo and abu grahib jails…
    I dont know how someone thinks (especially when that “someone” is only 10) after exposed to the violent side of the “truth” but im sure it must be traumatic…

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