CULTURE

City of Thessaloniki under photographic scrutiny

From the early 20th century, the city of Thessaloniki has served as a subject of study for numerous photographers. Foreigners and Greeks, both professional and amateur, have turned their lens on the city’s major crossroads, its monuments, important historical events, its metropolitan and cosmopolitan characters, and its modern architecture and social symbols. Some of these landmark photographs are the subjects of the exhibition «Glances at the City – Photographs of Thessaloniki in the 20th Century,» currently on at the port complex’s Photography Museum. The exhibition, curated by Stergios Karavatos, covers the history of Thessaloniki over the past century through some 130 photographs from the collections of the Thessaloniki Photography Museum, the Benaki, the Albert-Kahn, Jewish History and Macedonian Struggle museums. The photographic panorama begins with historic events that took place while shaking off the yoke of Turkish rule (1900-1912), recording the social mosaic of nationalities at the time. The second period, covering photographs by travelers, is enriched by the images of foreign photographers, such as Fred Boissonnas, while the interwar years section records the influx of refugees from Asia Minor and the changes they wrought upon the social fabric of the city. The displays also record the emergence of amateur photography for the sole purpose of capturing a moment, while the images of the Germans marching into Thessaloniki and vandalized Jewish cemeteries are poignant. In the postwar era, photographers looked toward the city with hope and optimism, while the ensuing period of the early days of democracy are depicted by strong symbolism.