CULTURE

A photographic journey through Greece’s shadows and light

The work of Volos photographer Dimitris Letsios and his images of post-World War II Greece will be featured in an upcoming retrospective exhibition at the Thessaloniki Photography Museum. Titled «A Poetic Journey of Lights and Shadows of Greece,» the project is currently under development by the museum. Letsios ranks among the great photographers of Greece, along with Balafas, Tloupas and Meletzis. His archive numbers some 4,000 photographs that mirror the face of Greece through images of rural life and monasteries, landscapes, folk traditions and rites, and scenes from everyday life. His archive, which begins right in the middle of the interwar years and covers the entire post-World War II period, is like «a valuable artistic, historical, social and folkloric trust,» notes the exhibition’s curator, Iraklis Papaioannou. Moments of life For over 60 years, Letsios used his lens to capture the Greek landscape, folk culture and moments in the lives of villagers. Although the scenes he has captured come from all over Greece, there is a noticeable focus on his own home prefecture, Thessaly, with images from Pelion, the Thessaly Plain, Karla Lake, the islands of the Sporades, Volos and Makrynitsa. These are images taken on excursions or during long walks in the countryside – much-needed moments of respite for the artist, who toiled at his father’s bakery when he wasn’t exploring the country, camera in hand. «Letsios did not make a living from his photography, and that gave him complete artistic freedom,» says Papaioannou, who notes the artist’s firm grasp of the photographic medium. «Within the context of broader change during the postwar period, Letsios applied the principles of pure photography. He never succumbed to the temptation of using advanced darkroom techniques or experimental photographic techniques. He always used natural light, even if this meant waiting for hours for the light to be just right, while he very rarely directed the scenes for his photographs.»