Portrayals of History
Voula Papaioannou – Dimitris Harissiadis 1940-1960
Works from the Benaki Museum Photographic Archives
The exhibition brings together the work of two photographers who, being active in the mid-twentieth century, systematically recorded Greece at a time of political transition, economic uncertainty and social hardship.
Voula Papaioannou and Dimitris Harissiadis, almost self-taught in photography, came into age in the period between 1940 and 1960. Their photographic depiction of World War II and the country’s post-war reconstruction are prime examples of photographic modernism in Greece, as this was expressed in the emergence of “straight” (or “unadulterated” in Harissiadis’ words) photography and the development of a new kind of humanist social documentary, both of which became dominant directions in post-war Greek photography.
Both founding members of the Hellenic Photographic Society (est. 1952), the two photographers succeeded in developing a distinct outlook in their professional and creative practice without fully denouncing the society’s archaeological and folklore accents, or departing from its overarching conservatism. Their post-war professional activity consists essentially of assignments, primarily commissioned by international relief organisations and local state agencies. Their creative work, as showcased in publications and exhibitions of the period, focused primarily on insignia of Greekness: the national landscape, customs and traditions, life in the countryside, the Greek spirit.
Venue: Thessaloniki Museum of Photography
Warehouse Α’, 1st floor, Port of Thessaloniki
Curated by: Alexandra Moschovi – Manolis Skoufias