244 b/w photographs from the Parallaxis and Photosynkyria events. (Bilingual, greek-english). Text: Aris Georgiou. 52 pages, 30x24cm. Thessaloniki Museum of Photography for the Photobiennale 2008. Thessaloniki, April 2008.


Somewhere from the depths of my memory, from the time when I was starting out in photography, the phrase “Les gens ne comptent pas pour du beurre”—people are not just decorative– dredges up. It was the title of an interview with Guy Le Querrec in a French photography magazine of that period, the 70s. The journalist had focused on Le Querrec’s genuine human interest in people, who in the end were the true content of his important photographs. When, some twentyfive years later, I met him and quoted back to him his own phrase, which had left an indelible mark on me, he had no memory of it at all. Moreover he gave me the impression that the issue did not concern him in the same way it once had. This created some uncertainty in me, probably unfounded, and caused me to become conscious of how photography often finds itself “outside the photographer”. How much the content of the depiction, the image of reality on the photosensitive transparency is nothing but an intangible and lifeless note, a poor reminder of sensation that cannot be repeated. I knew then, that people “do not count only as butter” on our bread, they are not decorative, they are not simple apparitions that the lens captures, they are not mere shapes and masses that are crystallized in a beautiful composition, or in an abstraction, establishing the “work of art”. People are. Or were.

These thoughts came to my mind during all that rummaging through the film archives of the Photosynkyria. This year is the twentieth since its inception, and a few more still since its forerunner Parallaxis ’85. Now I really grasp the great number of people whom I have photographed during this period. And I want more than ever to keep memories of stages, faces, situations – everything that happened. I am sorry at the same time to discover that I am missing some things, but I can brag that I have rescued many more. And of course I am not unmoved by images which most of the time feature smiles and satisfaction, where joy is diffused by the sense of participation, where there is awareness of the significance in meetings, exchange, contact. And more than anything, while I travel through these snapshots, while a human panorama unfolds before the eyes and in the memory, while the success of the events is now behind me, I understand that the most important trace, the greatest profit of a whole story of photography is those few or many friendships that were built, those which are depicted in this archive amongst a host of more fleeting contacts which nevertheless together confirm the idea that “what counts are people”. And I am conscious of the privilege I had, or even that I earned, to be able to adjust the dose and the depth of contact with the people portrayed, to be able even now, many years later, to renew a contact if I so wish or to “freeze” another less happy. And I have proved, in spite of the nostalgia which is always also pain, that in viewing the faces and phases that paraded past, in the end, a feeling of euphoria remains inside me. I hope that the feeling will be the same for the rest of the viewers who remember, but also for those younger and new converts to photography who did not live these moments first-hand.

Taking the opportunity of the anniversary, and with the help of Stergios Karavatos, I rummaged through the archives of commemorative photographs that I took at almost all the meetings from Parallaxis ’85 till the last Photosynkyria I coordinated in 2003. A large number of pictures which unfortunately cannot all be reproduced here, portray photographers, organisers, curators, critics, journalists, executives, politicians, academics and many regular and occasional patrons who all together, made up the living fabric of the Synkyria. Many years have passed though, during which many have left us. I want to remember. And to offer the rest of us this trip down memory lane.

Theodoros Nikoleris, Nikos Kessanlis, Chrysa Romanou, Nelly Seraidari, Angelos Seraidaris, Kostas Kovaios, Jenny Kilimi, Vasilis Katemides, Angelos Kloutzos, Mimis Kontos, Kostas Katsikis, Nikos Bakolas, Perris Vasilikos, Guy Senzier, Arnaldo Troiani, Spyros Meletzis, Takis Tloupas, Nikos Paralis, Kurt von Pozadowski, Kosmas Gallilaias, Andreas Michalis, Stavros Kouyioumtzis, Ioulia Vokotopoulou, Athina Boutari, Giorgos Kontaxakis.

Αris Georgiou