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Zisis Kardianos

Feast day

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“Memory demands an image”

Bertrand Russell

Rituals and traditions represent a very strong manifestation of the Greek way of life. It can be sensuous, surreal, mysterious and always loaded with the indelible sparkles of memory. I look at these traditions not as isolated events but as part of the life and spirit of my place. As photographer, I am allured by the idea of traveling. Going to different places, often without fixed ideas, just hoping for a prolific encounter with anything I may happen to stumble across. But since this is not always possible, I have to take advantage of what is around me, even outside my doorstep. I have to try to understand it and articulate it in a meaningful way. I am not very good in elaborating on an intellectual idea with the camera. I feel the camera as part of my heart, an extension of my intuition. I’m not sure about the documentary nature of these photographs, but for sure it is undermined by my responsive approach. It’s a rather subjective experience, constructing metaphors of my own narrative, through which I try to awake memories and to identify my cultural origins.



I was born in Greece in 1962. I studied sociology and in 1985 I enrolled in a two year photography course in Athens. I have recently attended a workshop with Nikos Economopoulos, one of the photographers I greatly admire. I am an amateur with some occasional publications of my work that subsidize my income together with my freelance travel writing.

I consider myself a street photographer more than anything else. I relate to the world by taking pictures and I give back slightly altered something of what I have been given.

It’s an emotional exchange and the highest reward I can expect from photography.

“Feast day” was not conceived as a series until much later when I felt I had a lot of singles with a common thread. The images were shot in my home island Zakynthos and other towns of south-west Greece, between 2006 and 2010.

A different edit has been first published in Geotropio magazine. The series has not been completed.


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Zisis Kardianos


44 thoughts on “zisis kardianos – feastday”

  1. jenny lynn walker

    Zizis, this essay is just so refreshing! Thank you so much! My favourite images are 1, 4, 10, and 24.

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  3. Amazing…beautiful…poetic…
    Nikos heavy influence indeed…Not a bad thing..You can watch it over and over..flows …light, honest and not pretentious…good job..keep it up…
    good morning from NY..:)

  4. Just a fabulous, cinematic, ‘classically’ rich story…a fable and a rhyme….

    when i write ‘classic’ i dont mean to suggest merely the compositional or use of b/w or reference points to the work of other great visual artists like Economopoulos or THEO ANGELOPOULOS (the last two pictures remind me of moments from his films Eternity and a Day, Ulysses’ Gaze, Landscapes in the Midst) but because these pictures seem to be eternal memories….memories that each of us share on our own level of time of place of celebration…and they become etched inside us, regardless of geography or age……

    i also loved the images with the stranger visual composition, seeing anew: the leg in the foreground of the upside-down girl of $#18, or the peering beneath the table/stage floor of #20…that’s what i always look for: someone who sees and feel anew what is part of each of us….

    beautiful, poetic and celebrant work…

    congratulations and thanks so much!


  5. Zisis! I have much love for Greece and the islands in particular but then, who does not. These photos give a wonderful glimpse as to why with a subtle poetry that is a mirror of the place itself. Thank you. Keep expanding this body of work, please! I will buy your book.

  6. Some great photographs touching on Greek life. I like the modesty and honesty in the artist statement, its like this is an experiment, something that can’t be articulated but is honest and true to itself without elaboration. Out of curiosity, how was this published in Geotropio? did it accompany your writing?

  7. Not long after you were born on the west coast of the US a phrase was condensed into a single word to become a descriptor of all that was good and cool. I do not use that word anymore, but it was the first thought that came to my mind as I looked through your pictures:


    Wonderful essay. I will come back and ponder it when I have more time.

    No favorites – loved them all – but for some reason it is the one of the horse with its hoof in the air that keeps repeating in my brain.

  8. Zisis: Wonderful. Masterful. (Just what I needed.) LOVE the black and white. Many, many thanks.

  9. Jamie Maxtone-Graham

    A very rich series of work. I feel the very personal connection between you and the material; it reveals itself in every frame and the love obviates the potential cliches. You have a nice way of seeing. Congratulations for your publications – here and elsewhere.

  10. Many excellent singles… they work well together in offering a glimpse into a particular side of Greek life… would love to see a book out this project… συγχαρητήρια…

  11. Hi Zisis, some time no seen.. I do remember several of the pictures.. 10 and 20 are two that are staying with me, can’t look at 18 without thinking of Björn’s picture, the association pops up every time I look at it..

  12. Resonates like a song heard in snatches as you wander through the recesses of memory. This is not my land or people but it touches what I somehow already know. I am in the line waiting for your book, Zisis. Please keep finding and recording these timeless moments. Beautiful work.


  13. Wonderful images, rich in emotion. Love everything about them, esp. 10 and 14. I’d buy the book too.

  14. Good grief, it’s Jim! Good to see you’ve been lurking out there. Welcome back.

    Congratulations. Woderful classical, quiet, poetic work. A delight.

  15. Zisi,

    what a delight to discover here a greek photographer whom I had never heard of, and who has such wonderful work as you do! Sure, heavily influenced by Economopoulos, but so what? What matters is that, even for someone who is familiar with such feasts (coming from Greece myself), you manage to take the everyday and make it magical, which is what photography is all about. Well done and thank you. And thanks to Burn.

  16. I also felt connected to your images from frame 1, Zisis. Feel most moved by this sort of photography. Catching the natural beauty of the human spirit. I am also an amateur photographer who has been doing a similar thing, and can see, recognize the authenticity in your images immediately. Also, as Bob mentioned, I saw the last image as being different; cinematic in its inspiration for me also.

    Peaked through your web site and love your images. Going back for more.
    You’ve inspired me.


  17. Very classic photography, I mean that in the sense that this type of classicism came about not so long ago, from the likes of Abbas, Economopoulos, Garcia-Rodero more lately, and a few others. So, I just cannot BUT like it, it’s a great pleasure to see your work on that subject, yet I think a few ones, and especially the vertical framed pictures are not as revealing or outstanding as the others.

    Never mind, a big thumb up and many thanks for the offering!

    PS: Jim, self-penance is over? :-))). Yes, nice to see you had gone but not left, or left but not gone…

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  19. It’s very obvious that not so few of these images are digitally manipulated… I don’t consider digital manipulations being photography…


    i am not opposed to digital manipulations in some kinds of photography, but i would be surprised if it was done here…for this type of work , i always assume straight shot and given his mentors , i would also assume straight shot…are you sure? where?

  21. Apologies to all for my late response. I just realized that it has been published.
    Thank you all and each one of you for your comments and encouragement to explore the series further.
    My thanks to David and Diego for publishing the work here.
    Anthony, I have only used burn/dodge and different filters during bw conversion to render tonality as I thought fit for each image. If this is considered digital manipulation, then I’m guilty as charged.

  22. Matt, about your question. Some of the images were published together with my writing on the feast of Agios Simios in Mesologi, one of the most enduring popular feast in Greece of religious and pagan origins.
    If I had a choice to publish on printed media without text, then I would have prefer it.

  23. david alan harvey

    David, first of all I am very glad to have a chance to wish you Happy Birthday!!! I am very rarely shure of anything:))… well, I just looked one more time… OK, I might be wrong, just some subjects looked like have been layered from other photos because the lack of shadows and strange, even irrelevant expresions… if I am wrong about this (and probably I am) this body of work is very very good…

    Zisis Kardianos

    I think burning and dodging, most of the time, is even must for digital B&W presentations… seems I was wrong about manipulations… appologize… and as I have already said, apart from my suspicions, the work is very very good indeed…

    good light for all

  24. jenny lynn walker

    “A truer image of the world, I think, is obtained by picturing things as entering into the stream of time from an eternal world outside… (than from a view which regards time as the devouring tyrant of all that is). Bertrand Russell

    Had to return because I feel this in some of the moments in this essay. Thank you. : )

  25. I’ve always believed it is best to simply ask before launching accusations based on a guess but then, I’m just an old Virginia boy and we tend to be sensitive about these things. Anthony, good on ya for the apology though and I agree, it is just sold good work here.

  26. Zisis

    ¨I feel the camera as part of my heart, an extension of my intuition¨

    you said it better than i could have since this was exactly my reaction to this essay..it is born of love, intimate knowledge of the good, the bad and the indifferent of where you live. Panos said once ¨shoot your neighborhood first¨..but for so many our own neighborhood is steeped in so many memories and experiences that we are unable to step outside of ourselves and see the magic that is all around. You have that gift and as Tom Hyde says, you speak a subtle poetry as if to a lover, whispered gently, adoringly, with a tear in the eye and a smile on the lips.

    Congratulations..a perfectly beautiful essay..


  27. I’ll always remember this as the first photo essay I viewed here, and my first comment. Very electric and moving work. I liked it a lot. I may have learned a little more about Greece today than I ever have at once before. Thank you for capturing it all.

  28. Dear Zisis,
    I find your images really beautiful, some, only some, might have been already seen, but the overall is a very beautiful tale.

  29. Nasos Leontaridis

    Very good series. The photos highlight the feasts with a very personal way and emotion comes to raise memories from the past. Since I’m Greek too I have this aroma of feasts and I’m pleased to see such a work.
    The bad thing is that there’s no 25, 26…. photo


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