Magnum photographers look at Greece today in a different light

After Thessaloniki and New York, it is Athens’s turn to host the exhibition «Periplus: 12 Magnum Photographers in Contemporary Greece,» which will be on at the Benaki Museum at 138 Pireos until late August. The exhibition composes a charming «anti-portrait» in which 12 of the celebrated agency’s photographers show their own take on modern Greece in a manner that is free of the usual cliches. At the Benaki, Lise Sarfati shows her journey through the Mastorochoria in Epirus, while Alex Webb has taken his journey by sea, stopping off at ports and harbors in northern Greece, and Patrick Zachmann plunges into Greece’s nightlife, observing the people at bars and nightclubs. Esteemed Czech photographer Josef Koudelka takes a panoramic look at Greece’s archaeological sites with dreamy vistas from Delphi, Epidaurus, Cape Sounion, Dion, Lindos, Delos and Olympia, while Jim Goldberg turns to the present, with a portrait of a multicultural Athens. Carl de Keyzer takes scenes often photographed in Greece and presents them from a new perspective, and Bruce Gilden has taken portraits of Greek women, trying to capture their distinctive traits. Brazilian photographer Miguel Rio Branco creates tableaux of past and present that mix politics, religion and society. Mark Power presents the major works that have been undertaken in the capital for the Olympic Games, and Richard Kalvar shows snapshots of his journey by train and bus from the west of the country to the east. The exhibition also contains the work of two Greek photographers: Constantine Manos, the son of Greek immigrants to the USA whose work has been on display before at the Benaki Museum, and Kalamata-born Nikos Economopoulos, a former journalist-turned-photographer. The former photographs scenes from Athenians’ daily lives and the latter has turned his lens on Greek customs and traditions. The exhibition is part of the Cultural Olympiad series of events and after Athens it will be traveling to London, Berlin and Beijing. At each city, a different part of the entire «Periplus» exhibition, which consists of 150 photographs by the 12 artists, is to be shown, presenting the whole as a type of puzzle that will be brought together via the various showings. The exhibition is curated by Sylviane de Decker-Heftler and is accompanied by a detailed, Greek-English catalog.