Images of Greece in dual focus

During the 19th century and as soon as mass transportation made traveling accessible to a greater number of people, more and more travelers arrived in Greece in order to discover by themselves what they had seen through paintings, prints or photographs. But for most of the population, obtaining a first-hand experience of what distant places looked like was impossible. Photography provided the solution. Stereoscopic images in particular were highly popular (apparently 15,000 copies of stereoscopic images were produced daily in the USA) for they could provide a verisimilitude of depth and an almost holographic view of objects in space, therefore animating as closely as possible the subject of each photograph. The commercial success of stereoscopic images, coupled with the interest in antiquities and the Greek classical world that prevailed throughout the Western world for centuries, led many photographers to travel to Greece in order to take stereoscopic images. A selection of those images, taken by mostly American photographers during the period between the first Olympic Games held in Athens in 1896 and the Mid-Olympiad of 1906 are reproduced in the book «Greece 1896-1906, Images from Stereoscopic Photographs,» published recently by Apeiron photos in collaboration with the Rizareios Foundation. (The original photos belong to the collection of Nikos Politis and some from the ELIA Greek Literary and Historic Archive). Most of the images are focused on the archaeological sites of Athens. The occasional inclusion of the image of a «tsolias» or a local dressed in traditional Greek attire adds an ethnographic-oriented detail. The book also contains images from other parts of Greece, but again the emphasis is on archaeological sites. One of the exceptions is an unusual picture of a man in a traditional costumes walking across the Corinth Canal.

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