Dimitris Michalakis was born in 1977 in Elefsina, Greece. He studied photography at the Focus School of Photography in Athens. Since 2004 he has been a regular contributor to K Magazine, (Kathimerini, Sunday Edition), and the E Magazine (Eleftherotypia, Sunday Edition).
His photographs have been published in various Greek and international publications (Spiegel, Die Zeit, Rolling Stones Magazine, Le Monde, Washington Post, International NY Times, Vice). He has traveled on press missions to many countries.
2013: ‘Burnout’ (in progress), Colemine Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland
2010: ‘NATO Avenue’, Cheapart Gallery, Athens; Thessaloniki Biennale, Greece
2008: ‘Old School’ Sen Yung China Gamma Photo Agency, China’s Cultural Olympiad.
2016:Burnout,European Month of Photography, MUSA-Museum, Vienna, Austria, Burnout, Athens Photo Festival, Athens, Greece, The Road Not Taken, Medphoto Festival, Rethimno Greece
2014: Depression Era, Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece, Le Mois de la Photo, La Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France, Fotóhónap, Budapest, Hungary, 22nd International Photographic Encounter “Logos”, Museum of Photography Thessaloniki | Photo Biennale, Thessaloniki, Greece, No Country for Young Men: Contemporary Greek Art in Times of Crisis, Bozar, Palais des Beaux – Arts & Atelier Bouwmeester, Brussels, Belgium, Austerity and Greece, Uri-Eichen Gallery, Chicago, United States
2012: Lumix Festival.
Taking pictures during the lockdown period at the height of Covid-19 pandemic was the realization of the first limitation, the restriction of one’s gaze which could initially extend only as far as the certificate of citizen movement allowed.
And later to realise how physical distancing was related to, and took the form, of social distancing.
Physical distancing may be a primarily photographic function, however its transformation into social distancing, turned the photographic medium into an active part of biopolitics that deviated from the previously socially and physically “healthy”, creating the need for new “normalities” and forcing the city centre into a process of desertification, excluding any presence as potentially pathogenic –or carrying a previous, now pathological, normality.
Some mornings, to wait for Syngrou Avenue or the National Road to empty – either in order to cross them or to photograph the new normality – was something that in the pre-Covid era would not have even been possible to imagine.
ICUs have become our point of reference, not only as places of patient transport, but also as places of claiming what is necessary for the public health. However, they also became the model for how our personal spaces should be and how we should exist within them.
The dystopia of a possible and sometimes expected emergency, became a material reality and was experienced not in shared bunkers, where groups of people gather together to save themselves, but in millions of separate bunkers into which each private space was transformed.
Runners Up 2020
Antonis Pasvantis is based in Kavala, northern Greece. He studied Electrical Engineering & Electronics at Brunel University in West London and Photojournalism at Leica Akademie of Athens.
His work has been exhibited at the Athens Photo Month 2006 Young Greek Photographers, in the Museum of Photography in Thessaloniki as well as the Odessa/Batumi Photo Days Festival.
He followed the refugee crisis from 2015 to 2017 and part of his project “The Clamor of Idomeni” has been displayed at the Museum of Photography of Thessaloniki, in the European Parliament and the Adelaide Photo Festival.
Since 2017 he has documented the impact the Greek -Turkish border is having on people. His story Sombre Caste investigates the rise of a new dark class in the aftermath of the 10-year Greek financial crisis.
Evros is the name of the river which flows across the Greek-Turkish border and an area in Greece where people from four different ethnic and cultural backgrounds (Greeks, Roma, Muslim minority and Pomaks) live together in peace.
Despite this fact, the two neighbors, Greece and Turkey, have always been apprehensive as Evros was once a field of past conflicts between them.
As a result, Evros has been transformed into one of the more, if not the most, militarized areas in Europe.
During the last three months, Evros has made the headlines of large news networks due to the efforts of thousands of migrants and refugees to cross the border and reach Europe.
They were misled by the Turkish government which spread fake news that Greece had opened the borders to those who wanted to cross into the country.
My pictures capture a new class of citizens that has been shaped in the aftermath of the Greek crisis. This caste always existed but due to the social cohesion and the strong family relations pervading Greek society, their status never came up to the surface.
The geography of the region on the country’s periphery had always defined and pressured the lives of people in Evros, but since 2010, when the Greek crisis erupted, the middle class underwent a transformation.
Most of Evros’s factories have shut down and have turned into industrial carcasses. More people were abruptly driven to poverty and, over time, the neglected area of Evros became an uncharted and isolated land.
On the other hand, Evros serves as the gateway to Europe for thousands of refugees and migrants. Since 2000, more than 400 people have lost their lives in their attempt to cross the river.
According to Dr. Pavlidis, a medical examiner and forensic scientist in the area, the most significant cause of death is either drowning or hypothermia.
The refugees that do manage to cross this death river are usually forgotten in a neglected detention center until the central bureaucracy decides on their future.
Byron Smith (b. 1986) is an American freelance photographer based in Athens, Greece. With a background in history, he has put down the pen in favor of the lens to document these times. Before moving to Athens this past August he worked as a stringer in New York City since 2011.
His clients include The New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, Getty Images, The Wall Street Journal among others. Byron was apart of The New York Times Portfolio Review in 2017 and has been selected for the same review in 2020.
His work has been published with: Getty Images, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and VICE.
• 2020 New York Portfolio Review Selected Participant 2019 Vogue Italia Portfolio Review Attendee 2019 New York Press Photographers Association Best in Show 2018 Yunghi Grant Recipient 2018 New York Press Photographers Association Best in Show 2017 New York Times Portfolio Review 2017 PhotogrVphy Magazine & Grant: Finalist Mosul Offensive 2016 2017 En Foco Fellowship 2016 New York Press Photographers Association
• News Picture Story: 1 st place • National / International News: 1 st & 3 rd place 2011 New York Press Association • Feature “Occupy Wall Street Protesters on the No.4 Train” 1st place 2011 National Press Photographers Association Monthly News Clip Contest
• Feature/Multiple Picture: “Springfield’s Deadly Tornadoes”: 2nd Place 2008 New Jersey Press Association Better Newspaper Contest • Spot News: 3 rd place 2007 Boston Press Photographers Association College Photojournalism Contest •News: 1 st & 2 nd place
•Photo Story: 1 st & 3 rd place Education 9/2004 -5/2008 Boston University Boston, MA •Graduated with a B.S. in Journalism, Photojournalism Emphasis
“The Backstop, Life in pre-Brexit Londonderry”
Londonderry or “Derry,” as the Catholic nationalists have called it, is the most populous area of Northern Ireland that could be affected by Brexit if a border is implemented.
The anxiety expressed by many in this region, is that a Brexit border may threaten the Peace Agreement of 1998; the treaty that brought an end to the violence between Protestant Unionists and Catholic Nationalists.
The Backstop, now defunct, was the UK’s solution to creating a border without the appearance of a common border between nations.
Recently, a nationalists aligned man at a pub expressed anger at the idea that he would have to drive around with the letters “GB” on his license plate.
So it’s entirely possible that this fear could lead to anger, and eventually violence, over the smallest of inconveniences.