April 26, 2013


Petros Poulidis: Family gathering, Attica, 1940
A print by the still grievously under-rated photojournalist Petros Poulidis, in retrospect perhaps the greatest or at least most vital of mid-century Greek photographers. This is a family gathering in the courtyard of a house near Athens, very likely on some festive occasion.  

One perhaps insufficiently studied aspect of photography is the way in which responses to the camera change over time. Studying Poulidis’s group photographs, one realises that his subjects are sufficiently familiar with the process not to be overawed by it, but not so familiar as to be jaded; they respond with neither the solemnity their parents might have displayed, nor yet with the bored indifference with which their grandchildren will react to still another group snapshot. 

This photograph includes twenty-eight separate men, women and children spanning three generations, each one a sharply delineated individual. Looking at the group, and noting the date, one cannot help wondering how many of them would still be alive in 1950, after ten years of war, occupation, famine and civil war.

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