A photographer plays with the real and the fictional

After spending four years with his family on the island of Skopelos, the Thessaloniki-based photographer Stratos Kalafatis collected the pictures he took during that time and consolidated them into what he considers a visual diary. «Journal 1998-2002,» which was edited down to a 150 images, was first presented several years ago at the French Institute in Thessaloniki within the context of the Photosynkyria event and was subsequently presented in a publication by Agra. Last year, it was shown in Japan and at the Tampere Triennale in Finland. It is now presented as a solo exhibition at the well-known Photoespana event, which this year celebrates its 10th anniversary. The exhibition is organized by the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography – which will participate this year in the Spanish event for the first time – and is curated by the museum’s director, Vangelis Ioakimidis. The Kalfayan Gallery which represents Kalafatis’s work has also collaborated. The exhibition is one among the 30 solo shows included in Photoespana. The director of the Parisian Vu gallery, writes (in the Agra publication) of the importance that color plays in the work of Kalafatis. In most cases, the bold colors and strong chromatic contrasts that typify his work do not correspond to natural hues but are the outcome of the so-called cross-processing which is used during developing. The themes of the photographs range from portraits to landscapes as well as details taken from everyday life. Most of them share a sense of the uncanny and evoke a surreal and, at times, slightly menacing mood. In several of the pictures that depict children, for example, one has the sense of impending danger. Also typical of the work of Kalafatis is the way that it plays with what is real and fictional. The photographer says that he likes challenging the viewer with this ambiguity. He also says that this interplay between the real and non-real is inherent in photography, since photographs rarely capture an objective view or reality. The participation of Kalafatis in the Spanish photo festival is an occasion for an international crowd to get to know the work of a Greek photographer and is also an optimistic sign of how Greek artists are gradually gaining international exposure. or

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