writings blog

If You Don't Cry... Go Home

When one revisits his roots, it is a universal expectation that he should be submerged in a fountain of joy. The remembrance of family, friends, and love; the seductive campestral view accompanied by syllogisms for the land but also for the heart, are simply put, obdurate, plodding to discover the torrid crib that will bring temporal peace.

Three years ago I started my current project, Motherland, with the endeavor to excavate memories and feelings of my life before the lens, and with no hesitation I confess that life without the responsibility of a camera was a lot easier both in regards to permanence and forgetting, but mostly the latter.

I have been making photographs for twenty-years predominantly within the editorial environment and I will never, never, replace those experiences because I believe, or to put it correctly, I hope they have made me a better human being. But the two bodies of work that have stigmatized me was/is my first monograph, America in a Trance, and my second large project and hopefully book, Motherland.

“Pastoral View”, Motherland, Prosilio, Greece, March 2018. ©Niko J. Kallianiotis

“Pastoral View”, Motherland, Prosilio, Greece, March 2018. ©Niko J. Kallianiotis

Those who are in my immediate circle know that I am a hammy individual, especially when I talk about photography and in general things that I am passionate about, so bear with me on this one. The interconnecting link, the ingredient that fuses the aforementioned projects are tears; tears for leaving Western Penn. during my last trip to make images weeks before the book went to press. Tears because twenty kilometers east to the point of view of this image my grandparents are buried; tears because over the mountains I have regretted things I have not done and those anxieties still await to be assuaged.

It has come to be true that the connection I have with my last two projects is of a level that is highly esoteric. Undeniably, every project and every photograph could be considered personal, but what I am thinking of is a form of a confession, with the world and lens becoming a mirror because the window is always there.

My assertions and points of view regarding this matter might sound preposterous, or stoic, but it is beyond my emotional abilities and strengths, possibly because the act of photographing is completely detached and irrelevant from photography. The medium is an excuse to go back to revisit and confess and if the regrets and joys result in tears, well…I might have made a decent photograph and the lost you again…temporarily.



by Niko J Kallianiotis