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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 20 April 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 20 APRIL 2019 13 PHOTOGRAPHY onos through Cabe’s lens Mykonos: Portrait of a Vanished Era’, evered work and reveals he continues Greece time again PHOTO © ROBERT MCCABE. PHOTO © ROBERT MCCABE. The week in Greece turned into that entire summer of 1954. And that has turned into a lifetime. namely those of Greece, that continue to resonate with people around the world, over 60 years on? Aside from documenting history, it is also nostalgia of a bygone era. "Part of it may be the evocation of a special period in Greek history, as the country emerged from years of extreme hardship and there was a sense of mutual dependency in the villages and cities. The photos were taken on the threshold of incredibly dramatic change and portray a way of life that has essentially disappeared," McCabe explains. He says the impact of tourism is undeniable. "Greece has come from the extreme poverty of the post Nazi and post Civil War period to relative prosperity. Of course there has been a dramatic setback in recent years. Tourism has played an important role. When I first visited Greece in 1954 I believe there were 180,000 visitors for the year. Today there are around 30,000,000, I believe. Mykonos alone now may have as many as 150,000 a day! You can imagine the impact that has had on the traditional culture and way of life." Just as Greece has changed throughout his lifetime, so too has his medium of choice, McCabe admitting he was initially "very sceptical of digital photography" because of the poor resolution. But he says he was eventually seduced by the instant feedback, and subsequent control in his work, digital provided. "I found that with no concerns about film costs and instant feedback there were extraordinary opportunities to learn through trial and error. Experiments with composition and exposure were easy. It really has helped me understand better the elements that make a memorable photograph," he explains. McCabe wasn't kidding when he said that first summer in Greece turned into a lifetime. Now aged in his 80's, he currently has a long list of projects he is working on, among them a book of photographs from Santorini 1954 and 1955 before tourism, and the devastating earthquake of 1956; a book of photos of Kassos in 1965 "when travellers to Athens still had to get into a tender off the rocks!" along with a book documenting the life on Greek freighters, amongst others. PHOTO © ROBERT MCCABE.
13 April 2019
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