Greece Is Drowning
This photograph is a metaphor for the anguished situation of the Greeks. My use of “Photeinos” as a brand comes from the Greek: “lustrous, transparent or well-illuminated…bright, full of light”. I love Greece for the many times that I have visited, photographed, meditated and enjoyed friendships there. I also am keenly aware of its financial distress, not least because I was part of the structural problem in my role as risk manager in my previous, investment-banking career. I lived the birth of the crisis during 4 years in New York, from 2005 to 2008, and physically witnessed the demise of Lehman Brothers from my office on the other side of the street. My heart goes out to all those, worldwide, who have felt the pain of the last few years’ financial woes.
In the spring of 2012, I was comfortably settled on a pontoon in the bay of Porto Heli in the southern Peloponnese, photographing the scene and the activity on the water. Although I was enjoying yet another wonderful, peaceful visit to this place, I was keenly aware of the deepening disaster around me, that was sweeping over a proud and ancient people. Perhaps too proud and ancient, I wondered? They seemed to be suffering from the long-term consequences of dreamy responses to the realities of a harsh world.
As these thoughts floated around in the back of a mind that was primarily seeking to capture a photographic “instant decisive”, I was jerked into real life, when this drowning Greek flag came floating on the current. I immediately “felt” its impact, as a metaphor for the state of the country and the feelings of its people, both of them drowning in a sea of debt, tattered and struggling to stay afloat. My taking the photograph was a reflex action, born of my professional experiences and my sensitivity to my immediate environment. It was a crazy moment, unifying my past life of banker with my new life of photographer.
As I write, “Debt” day approaches for the EU negotiators and the Greek government. I have no idea how the events will play out, but I place my hope in the beauty and peace of the azure sea that rocks this struggling symbol of the country in its warm embrace. The Greeks live a maritime existence and have learned how to tough it out with the capricious and powerful ocean. May they find a way to navigate today’s dangerous currents and storms. This subject is too sensitive to trivialise it with any comment on the photography related to taking the image. I simply copy the settings below, as per my weekly format.
Camera: Nikon D300
Lens: VR 70-200mm zoom f/2.8G
Focal Length: 280 mm
Vibration reduction: Off
Focus Mode: AF-C
Autofocus Area Mode: Dynamic 51 points (3D tracking)
Shutter Speed: 1/500s
Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority
Exposure Compensation: 0
ISO Sensitivity: 250
At this critical time for Greece, I trust that, one way or another, the consequences will result in long-term renewal for this wonderful country and its people.
Copyright Paul Grayson 2015
Keywords: AMDG, Art, D300, Fine Art, Greece, Nikon, Nikon 70-200mm VR zoom, Nikon Capture NX2, Paul Grayson, Photeinos, φωτεινος
Powerful and moving!
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