A photography workshop downtown Athens

Τ. Χρισσαίτη

Τ. Χρισσαίτη

Tsikos2

Π. Τσίκος

DSC06553

Δ. Φραγκούλης

Αγνωστες πτυχές του Θησείου ήταν ο στόχος του εργαστηρίου φωτογραφίας που υλοποίησα στο Μουσείο Ηρακλειδών. Μια ποικιλόμορφη ομάδα, έδεσε τη ματιά της προσφέροντας μας την πιο άνιση φιγούρα που θα περιμέναμε από αυτήν την διάσημη περιοχή που βουλιάζει από τουρίστες, αργόσχολους και τραπεζάκια. Από επιλογή σε επιλογή, συζήτηση και αναίρεση, φτάσαμε σε μια παλέτα γραμμών και επιφανειών που αναδεικνύουν ένα κέντρο, συχνά άγνωστο στον καθημερινό περιπατητή.


Revealing images from the center of Athens, occurred as a result of a documentary photography workshop I lead during the last 2 months. With a focus at the famous Thisseio area, just next to the ancient Agora and below Acropolis, we searched for personal visions, details which intrigued the one or the other member of the group. My role was minimal, just to give incentives concerning street photography and keep the discussion going on upon the series of photographs arriving in the projector room. I tried to see what were the qualities of each participant. People with different backgrounds from architecture to engineering and from graphic design to medicine, sales and administration concentrated in discovering lines and surfaces, characters and moments, subversions and typical visions of the area, that we all, Athenians- and tourists- share. The most intriguing part of the workshop was to eliminate our choices of preferred photographs, as each participant would have the chance to actually exhibit ONE in a proper exhibition offered by our host, the Herakleidon Museum, right in the heart of Thisseio.TSIKOS

A fragile encounter

Ενα μικρού μήκους ντοκιμαντέρ γεννιέται κατά τη διάρκεια ενός άλλου γυρίσματος. Πώς; Οταν η ματιά μας συναντά κάτι απρόοπτο, που δείχνει όμως να έχει τη δική του ιστορία και η κάμερα μπορεί να το καταγράψει, φαντασιώνοντας ότι αυτό που θα συμβεί έχει ζουμί, αισθήσεις και ένα πιθανό τέλος.FRAGILE POSTER

“I enjoyed very much your talking statue film.. beautiful, really.” Mark Reid, Head of Education, British film Institute

During a commissioned and quite predictable documentary shoot for the historical background of the town of Preveza in Western Greece, I found myself at the old, almost deserted museum inside the archaeological site of Nikopolis, the spectacular roman city of Emperor Augustus. Nothing particular was happening, we were there to record in the best possible way some statues and other stone artifacts of the period. Suddenly, a truck arrived and we were deprived of continuing our shooting. What could I do? I was puzzled and annoyed until a big box came out of the truck. So I started asking questions…and in 10 minutes time I had my only chance to tell my Director of Photography to raise the camera.

“Fragile” is a short story of a chance encounter with history. An encounter we think we have full control of , but we actually don’t. Here is the trailer.

Documentary both reveals and hides stories

‘Documentaries always hide great stories’: this was the phrase that Mark Reid, Head of Education at the British Film Institute kept in his mind from my presentation in the Film Literacy day in La Ciotat, south of France a month ago. He added: “we usually think that documentaries tell stories, but you interestingly showed how many the hide…”.

A Melies studio photo decorated the programme.

A Melies studio photo decorated the programme.

In my presentation I deliberately deconstructed a short length documentary I did 3 years ago about a traveler child in the suburbs of Athens. The “truth” which was guiding me through my research and shooting period, was completely challenged and subverted a year after the film had finished. I had chosen the young girl as a character because she wanted to get out of the ghetto and had a wish to continue school. This girl, never made it: she gradually dropped out following the majority of her community. As it proved, two “directors” were not enough to help her not quit. Firstly, the school director, a unique teacher well known for her systematic efforts to bring and keep Roma kids in the school and second, me, a  film director who cared enough not only during shooting but also after. Truth as always, is bigger than documentaries.

The sister of my protagonist learning life in a muddy road.

The sister of my protagonist learning life in a muddy road.

The educational aspect

In a film literacy context, the presentation developed to show how the film itself gives us several chances to read it as a space for communication, information exchange, language development and form creation . Meaning that documentary can be very useful from a media education point of view, something rare, as, usually, fiction films are used for this purpose.

 

Young professionals become Documentarists

Learning interviewing among the olive trees

Learning interviewing among the olive trees

participants lookig at rushes

Viewing rushes and selecting materials

The environmental association APARE invited me to guide a 4 day intensive documentary workshop for young professionals of the environmental and social sciences sector during their research for the Cote Blue area near Marseillles. It was a great team which advanced their knowledge and consciousness on what a documentary might be. MA students and young professionals from 4 countries added with their questions and initiatives to drafting a script about their area of investigation. The team worked from idea to research and from planning to shooting. The most interesting part was editing where working in small teams they managed to both learn and develop rough cuts, alternatives and challenge their initial research.

An international team from 4 countries:

An international team from 4 countries: UK, France, Italy, Greece

A short making of of the workshop