A look back at a time of change

From 1959 onward, photographer Dimitris Soulas lived and worked mostly in Germany. That was where he first became fascinated by the art of photography. Soulas was an employee of a Munich-based multinational that imported fruit and vegetables from all over the world, including from Greece. When the 1967 military junta established itself in Greece, he co-founded the nationwide anti-dictatorship movement and shortly afterward asked his employers to fire him because of his political activities. That was when he turned to photography professionally. This Friday, a large portion of his work will go on display at the Benaki Museum’s Pireos Street annex in the exhibition «Dimitris Soulas: Snapshots, Photographs 1967-1974,» which is jointly organized by the Thessaloniki Photography Museum, the Fotomuseum im Munchner Stadtmuseum as well as the Benaki Museum’s photography archives. For many years, Soulas worked as a photojournalist and collaborated with The Associated Press as well as with Germany’s largest newspapers and journals. In general, he was mostly interested in city life, more specifically immigrants, outcasts, students and peace demonstrations but also personalities from the fields of politics and the arts, thus emphasizing the humanist spirit that prevailed in postwar photography. The Benaki display will feature 90 photographs taken between 1967 and 1974 and is accompanied by a book published by the Fotomuseum im Munchner Stadtmuseum and the Thessaloniki Photography Museum. A documentary about Soulas’s life and work will be screened, while a limited number of photographic prints bearing his signature will be available in the museum shop. A different society When viewing some of his photographs, which depict Germany at the time of political and economic immigrants, the protests, the Berlin Wall, the developments and the artistic avant-garde movement, it feels as if one is looking through a photo album from another, long-gone era, of a society that was passionate, creative, angry and inspired. Soulas returned to Greece permanently in 1974 and became involved with commerce and business. Today he alternates between living in Thessaloniki and Germany and has gotten into documentary making. Kathimerini found him in Germany and asked how he feels when looking at his old photographs. «Every photograph brings to mind a certain story, [it reminds me] of when I took it and how it was created. You know, we only keep the pleasant memories from the past, not the unpleasant ones. But apart than the happy times, there were many difficult moments back in those days,» he said. Benaki Museum, 138 Pireos & Andronikou, tel 210.345.3111, through October 18.