Guide to SKOPJE

Photographer who captured the incredible beauty of Greek villages

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A voice coming from within your soul calling you to visit the birthplace of your ancestors. At first, it is a quiet whisper, gradually becoming louder and louder and your desire to do that grows by the minute. Should you decide to listen to the call and set off on a journey looking for your roots, it can turn into an amazing, life changing experience. Constantine Manos, a US citizen of Greek origin, listened to stories about the village where his parents came from, stories of fishermen and life in a magical place where time seems to have stopped.

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Fifty years ago he went in quest of his roots, a feat that contributed to the best collection of photographs of Greek villages ever made.

-My parents are Greeks who lived in a village on a small island in the Sea of Marmara in Turkey. They were refugees. During my whole childhood I listened to stories about the “chorio”, the village. In 1961 I finally felt obliged to visit their birthplace. – says photographer Constantine Minos for Balkon 3.

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When he first set foot on Greek territory he didn’t immediately find inspiration for photography. He had to look for it. 

-It was in the beginning of 1962 when I realized that I could take the best photographs in poor, isolated villages, so I decided to take photos only in the villages where there was no electricity. – explains Constantine Minos.MAC64009W00253/22A

We asked how his famous “Greek Portfolio” would look like, if he visited modern Greece.

-One cannot make such a collection of photographs now. The villages of 1962-1963 are a very different place today. If I decided to take photographs of this country now, I would go to Athens. It is a mirror of modern Greece. – says the photographer.

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He recalls the most unique and authentic Greek village he visited. It was the village of Olympos situated on top of the mountain on the island of Karpathos.

-It was an ideal village, frozen in time. The women wore traditional garments every day, and those garments were perfectly preserved. I remember that they lived in a world of their own. – says Manos. 

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He has travelled the world together with his favourite “Leica” camera, but he admits he hasn’t taken photographs of any other place in the Balkans except Greece.

-I always choose to work in places where there is a personal, emotional connection. I have had many exciting moments in my career and many photographs have passed through my camera lens, still the most emotional moment was when I photographed a funeral procession in the south of Peloponnesus. For a moment I felt as if I were in ancient Greece. – he remembers.  

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Photographs by this renowned artist are exhibited as permenent exhibitions in several prestigious museums in New York, Houston, Atlanta, Boston, Paris, Athens…

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In a series of articles Balkon 3 is presenting the most dramatic and most interesting collections of photographs by Constantine Minos – the photographer whose works capture the beauty of Greek villages.

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