Monday, November 30, 2009

MAKING CONNECTIONS: photographer Nikos Economopoulos

I prefer to spend my time in my corner of the world: south Europe and west Asia, where I understand the codes and can make connections."

Nikos Economopoulos brings his extraordinary vision of the people of the Balkan Peninsula, a fragmented environment shattered by ethnic, religious and territorial warfare. In spite of the hatreds that have endured for centuries, the people share a way of life and a history. Indeed, when Economopoulos first traveled through different Balkan countries, he realized how easily he could piece together a collective Balkan portrait based on such cultural commonalities that supersede historical differences and show how the people of the Balkans carry on with the business of living - with marriages and funerals, farming and street games - sharing an inextinguishable spirit despite the unmistakable air of volatility that surrounds them.
Nikos Economopoulos was born in Greece. After studying law in Parma, Italy, he worked as a journalist in his native country. Meanwhile, he pursued photography, and in 1988 he began a long-term project in Greece and Turkey. He photographed whatever he came across on his daily walks: street scenes, public gatherings, solitary meanderers, or deserted landscapes. In 1990 Economopoulos joined Magnum, and his photographs began to appear in newspapers and magazines worldwide. In the same year he started to take photographs in Albania, Bulgaria, Romania and the former Yugoslavia, investigating the territorial, ethnic and religious tensions of the region, as well as the endurance of traditional social and religious rites. This work earned him the Mother Jones Award in 1992.


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