I’d like to start by saying thank you to everyone who turned out to my exhibition this weekend at Book & Job Gallery on Geary st in San Francisco. It really didn’t feel like an exhibition as much as a family reunion. There were people there whom I hadn’t seen in years, some from college, some from family and some of those special people who slip through the cracks when life gets crazy.
The most popular thing that evening(besides the bar) was the limited edition books that went alongside the exhibition - “Holiday/Everyday” and “Photographs from the streets of Greece.” There’s still some left, so feel free to email me if you’re interested in picking up a copy for yourself.
Below you will find the artist’s statement that was posted at the exhibition as well as a time lapse from the setup to the show all the way to the end of the night. Thanks again for everyone who came out and as for the rest of you, I hope to see you all soon.
Greece is at an economic breaking point.
The euro is collapsing due to greedy banks, international debt, a government that ignores tax evaders, a poor job market that has “more stores than people” and a local economy structure that worships tourism. The average income for an individual in Athens is around €600 a month, and the apprehension towards foreigners is palpable. Tourists come to see the ruins in Greece, the Acropolis, Hadrian’s Library, the ruins in Delphi. They come with €1000 or more to spend on museum tickets, trinkets and memorabilia, not even counting what they will spend on flights, hotels and transportation.
The disparity weighs heavy in the air with homeless people, scam artists and honest shopkeepers trying desperately to get out-of-towners to part with their precious euros that they have such an abundance of, while the locals struggle with what little they have. There is a constant underlying feeling of stress, from locals scoffing when tourists ask for directions, con-men who would slip a bracelet on to some unsuspecting person’s wrist and demand money, to restauranteurs who would flat out beg you to eat at their establishment. But the Greek people are certainly resilient. There were parties nearly every day/night in main squares, packed with music, drinking and dancing. Gypsy women would walk on glass, juggle fire and prance around while street performers wearing Wu-Tang Clan t-shirts would challenge bystanders to rap battles.
San Francisco is known for its marches and protests, being ground zero for the Free Love Movement in the 1960s, Human Rights Movements and its support for gay rights. Today these marches happen on a weekly basis or so, with a sort of half-hearted support from many of it’s participators, typically young twenty-somethings with cushy tech jobs who desperately want to be part of something but don’t really stand for anything. In Athens there are pro-communism demonstrations and marches daily.
In my time in Greece, I explored the streets of Athens, the ruins in Delphi and even made my way to Crete, a small fishing island southeast of the continent. My observations were many, ranging from the desperate economic situation among the locals to the ravenous tourists taking selfies with ancient ruins and rushing to buy cheap trinkets to commemorate their adventures abroad. The most common observation I had however, especially in Athens, was that of a community struggling to stay together.
Images were captured on old or expired film to show stark the contrast from it’s clean digital counterpart in an effort to show two sides of a coin. There’s something that seems so right about using a traditional process while visiting a place with so much ancient history. Mandatory, even.