hail, o hail, liberty!

This Greece story is moving and in a contemporary light, actually transcends that which is Hellenistic. Let these be the new gods and heros for it all belongs to the raw and the sublime.

Ancient Greece was a society where men made things happen, women were idealised and the regions were rich in a multitude of cultures, Sparta, Macedon, Athens to name but a few. Today we still tell their myths and legends to our children, updated versions of Herodotus’ records are readily available in our DVD stores and few of us operate without Pythagoras or Euclid’s help in our every day lives. Now modern Greece is in a very public turmoil. Unemployment is rife, accusations of corruption are an everyday occurance and the gap between the rich and poor spikes deep into the heart of the everyday citizens who can barely afford to feed their families. The sight of men and women going through dumpsters, searching for food and begging at traffic lights are sadly not uncommon. But what of art and the beauty that comes from Greece? Has this glorious culture been lost?

To see Greece now, in its very obvious trouble brings to mind a society the ancients might have inhabited and the moral judgement of european brothers and sisters is no more than the chorus of elders in a tragedy or even drawn out black comedy, standing in the corner, narrating what the outside is thinking; looking in on a very specific set of activities which describe the depths of human emotion and experience. It is not suprising either, that from inside such inequity comes forth representations of life and ineffable beauty so gentle that the chorus moves to woo, and new faces of Sparta and Athens sit opposite each other; the fabric of old is draped over younger bodies wearing traditional textures and man’s naked beauty is displayed. Herein, the stuff of new myths and legends begins.

Whether caught in the smoothness of flesh of marble upon the face of Aphrodite, Apollo or in the breeze of skirted thigh off duty, in movement, there is an undeniable masculinity to Greece. It holds the bravado of Spartans and diplomacy of Athenians. It maps the strategies of Macedon and all its descendents and the cheek of imperial power, even as far as northern Africa. These images of today’s Greece, its church, orthodoxy of society structure and language that has maintained shape and form holds up new ideas in the same way records are established and broken by Olympians; today’s Olympians and it feels strong.

There is a breath and a whisper in each image that captures that sense of the past in all its softness as well as today’s strength, today’s hope and today’s energy. This Greece story is moving and in a contemporary light, it actually transcends that which is Hellenistic.

There is undeniable power and a different story is told from each angle it’s viewed, in each reflection caught. The spirit that rises up above the white walls and from the stone columns sends out new messages and unashamedly retells old stories. The stories of what the human race has always owned.

These images demands attention without politics but let us remember that they are only quite as beautiful in the backdrop of such dramatic social issue. These lines of note ultimately belong to the raw and the sublime. Let these be the new gods and heros; it is beauty and human beauty is never something to be negotiated, only recorded and worshipped and in this worshipful state, we receive our opiate and are free. Hail O’ Hail Liberty!

Photography, concept & styling: © Predrag Pajdic, 2011
Hail, o hail, Liberty!
(χαίρε, ω χαίρε, Ελευθεριά!)
With Sotiris Georgiou & Dimitris Alexandrou
And the great help of Costas Voyatzis, Nikos Makryonitis & Errikos Andreou
Using historical pieces of traditional Greek costumes as well as
pieces from the latest Sotiris Georgiou collection.
The title derives from the Greek National Anthem by Dionisios Solomos
Location: Athens’ rooftops, Greece, 7 September 2011
Text: © J. L. Nash, 2011