Motherland

I was born and raised in Greece, but my entire adulthood has been spent in the United States. As the Greek socioeconomic crisis intensified over the last four years, media outlets have bombarded us with images of turmoil, despair, and desolation. Some of these pictures cut like a blade for people like me—someone who has spent half of his life in Athens and half in the picturesque hillsides of Pennsylvania. Is this really what Greece has become? Once the center of democracy, civilization, and the arts, the government now forces its elderly to beg for their pensions? Obviously, these doleful images are implicitly related to the current socioeconomic situation. Nobody can doubt or undermine the power of these images, but the facts they represent are selective. Simply put, these pictures only represent a fraction of contemporary Greek society. With my ongoing series, "Motherland" I strive to depict the crisis with undertones of the hope, humor, pride, and dignity that characterize Greek culture. Under the golden light that plummets over the Athenian plateau and beyond, I tried to document the transformed society that I was once a part of. As I walked the streets of my youth, feeling both familiar and at times alien, I experience the diverse environs fluctuating between harmony and tension. Overall, I feel a sense of belonging. Most photographic projects are personal, but to me Motherland is as personal as it gets. This body of work resonates with me emotionally and represents quite a significant part of who I am.