CULTURE

New photo archive for the Benaki

Newly organized, under a new roof, with goals and facilities, the Photograph Archive of the Benaki Museum has embarked on a new and expansive phase in its history. Earlier in the month the archive, housed at 15 Kolonaki Square, opened its doors officially, inviting friends and collaborators to visit its rooms in the presence of Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos, with the museum’s director, Angelos Delivorias, and archive head, Fani Constantinou, as hosts. The presence of numerous photographers, such as Spyros Meletzis and Costas Balafas, as well as collectors, demonstrated the breadth of cooperation with, and the confidence in, the Photograph Archive, both of which have grown over the years. Open to researchers, the archive is housed in a flat of a 1950s apartment block. Access to the seventh floor (a donation by M. Karolos and P. Vlagali) provides vistas of the Acropolis and the Saronic Gulf. The extensive floor space permits the collection to grow in accordance with international specifications and the housing of a photograph restoration laboratory (founded in 1999) and a darkroom (2000). The creation of these facilities contributes decisively to a new stance toward archival photography. At the opening, Culture Minister Venizelos said that the ministry would soon announce specific measures on photographic policy and that the archive would be called upon to play an important role. Fani Constantinou referred to the fruitful cooperation with collectors and photographers and the archive’s educational function, while Angelos Delivorias underlined that, with its up-to-date specifications, the Photograph Archive could rank among its foremost European counterparts in every respect. The Photograph Archive contains collections of 300,000 negatives and 2,500 original photographs. Among the archive’s plans for the future are: an edition on famous Greek photographer Voula Papaioannou (in cooperation with Agra publications); a new edition of the 1985 exhibition catalog, Athens 1839-1900: Photographic Witnesses; monographs on Greek photographers, and exhibitions on Dimitris Harisiadis and N. Tobazis as well as foreign institutes with Greek themes. The new piece, which will be presented for the first time in London, is based on Kalvos’s Odes.