“A World without Margins” is the title of a retrospective of Spyros Staveris. Thessalonika’s Museum of Photography and the 52nd International Film Festival co-organize this exhibition to show 30 years of work by one of Greece’s most important photographers.
It includes street scenes, urban life, portraits of celebrities and unknowns, and snapshots of events of all kinds – from local festivals to low brow scenes, much like the photographer’s own travels, which for the 61 year-old began in Paris.
“Right from school I immersed myself in film. I was always in the cinema, and I saw a lot of films at the French cinematheque. I think that gave me the desire to work with pictures, and make my own,” says Staveris.
“I was born in Athens – at the age of two I ended up in Paris due to my father’s impulse – Greece must have been too small a country to live in for him. I grew up in Paris – that’s where I studied – at the end of the 60s I got a camera and I started – but I didn’t feel like I was starting something. – I went out and I started shooting like a sleepwalker in the streets, the passers-by, the displays of the windows. It was a small part of Paris that I liked,” he continues.
Spyros Staveris studied History, moving back to Athens in 1985 where he started to work as a photo journalist 4 years later. He has worked for the most prestigious Greek and international magazines and newspapers
In Greece he is known for his photos of the urban landscape and the 90s boom, capturing the Dionysian aspect of the islands’ religious festivals, political demonstrations, street events, and everyday life
Spyros Staveris describes himself as a “photographer without qualities”. Just like Musil’s hero, Staveris clearly wishes to break with convention, to infiltrate the complex fabric of everyday life to take pictures.
“I try to see and reproduce things as they are, without idealising, embellishing, or dramatising them. There’s a whole “dramatic” school in contemporary photography that I really don’t like, that I find useless,” he says.
But times have changed. More and more, even international magazies have smaller budgets for expensive photo reports and certainly the economic situation in Greece makes it hard to find financing for photo projects.
“It’s no longer possible to find funding for projects, so I think in times like these the easiest thing to do is document reality, the realities of life. I think it’s a very interesting period, full of photographic potential, to draw the truths out of this reality,” says Staveris.
One of his current projects is to go around in the city snapping people without asking anybody for permission. He says it is his way of portraying his country which is going through a difficult time – being a contemporary witness with his camera, showing the people in their everyday lives as they are. “A World without Margins”, 30 years of photograpy can be seen at the Museum of Photograpy in Thessaloniki, Greece.