The Pig and Other Stories
by Stratos Kalafatis
These images do not describe or attempt to narrate. I could describe them as ‘in-between images’. They were created in-between and at the same time with my other projects. Photographs between my forties and my fifties, between the two ‘riders’ Mohammad Ali and Alexander the Great, the Olympic Games and Eidomeni, the trauma of birth and the passing time that brings the fear of death. Parts of short stories with seemingly different destinations, they have been stripped of myth and plot. But what’s left of a story when the narrative is taken away? The tree, the bird, the crossroads, the wolf, the girl, the brave young lad, love, a blessing, a curse. Dots that lead from one to the next, a dot to dot game you hope it will reveal its secrets.
As a young photographer in the early eighties, I had limited access to information which was often contradictory and confusing. It took me some time to explore the medium and to understand how reality is transformed when it becomes a photograph. As a result, I had been an image collector for a long while, largely structuring my projects in line with their subject-matter.
Everything changed in my 30’s when I moved to Skopelos island. I decided to change almost everything in my process. I used a medium-format camera and colour film for the first time, shifting my palette towards unusual, intense colours, and defiantly insisted on using the flash even in broad daylight. These dynamic elements of a new form, clashed with conventional photographic practice. However, the most important breakthrough for the development of my work, wasn’t the originality of the intense form, but the introduction of the crucial element of photographic narrative. I took photographs in the form of a journal and for four years I made a daily record my life. Coming back to Thessaloniki with 400 new images, I collaborated with Dimitris Papazoglou on the engrossing task of editing. Soon I realized how the photographic narrative came to be just as important as the images themselves. Being an author-photographer, a storyteller is more where I feel at home. That was my method from there on in a number of places: Saga – Japan, Aegean Archipelagos, Mount Athos.