CULTURE

History of Crete in the interwar years related by photographers

From the period of the Cretan Republic (1898-1909) until today, a broad variety of aesthetic and ideological approaches have characterized Crete as subject of photography, which are open to varying interpretations. Gathered in one tome, simply titled «Crete,» this anthology of 180 Cretan photographs belonging to the Photograph Archive of the Benaki Museum and to the Borel-Boissonnas archives in Geneva attempts to observe the fluctuations of photographers’ attitudes to Crete, with emphasis on the interwar years. The publication was presented on Friday, February 1 in the Cretan Hall of Thessaloniki by parliamentary deputy Theodoros Pangalos, the prefect of Hania, a representative of the Benaki Museum and publisher Themis Banousis, who conceived the idea for the album (brought out by Themelis/Banousis publications.) Research The album is the result of a study of the Photograph Archive of the Benaki Museum, where Irini Boudouri, researcher and photography historian, developed the initial idea of a simple collection on Crete. «It is interesting to see the change in photographic themes after the incorporation of Crete into the Greek State,» she said. During the time of Cretan Republic, photographs tended to be more political in focus. Later, a number of photographers descended on the island and in the space of a few days, they would discover their own angle on Crete. This resulted in many pictures that either observed a tourist brochure or album style, or which were a symbolic (and intensely ideological) illustration of an awkward transitional period, as Boudouri wrote in her prologue. The artists The album includes photographs by Fred Boissonas (who visited Crete during the first quarter of the last century and took some 2,000 photographs), Nelly’s (1927 and 1939, the second time by appointment to the Ministry of Tourism), and by Elli Papadimitriou (1906-1993), Periklis Papahadzidakis (1905-1990), and Stephanos Malikopoulos (1908-1976). The book also contains a chapter by Giorgos Manousakis about Crete in the interwar years.