Accepted Paper:

Photographic Traditions and Aegean Modernities  


Tryfon Bampilis (University of Oxford)

Paper short abstract:

The paper examines the process of traditionalization of the photographs of Giannis Venardis on the island of Skyros in the Aegean sea and the transformation of his work into an "authentic" representation of the past and an idealized heritage of the island. Based on the fieldwork of the author.

Paper long abstract:

Since the beginning of the twentieth century photographs have become an integral part of the social life of Aegean islanders. Photographic images have been incorporated and often associated with "tradition", "authenticity", ritual practices and local identity. A way of approaching this traditionalization of photography is the biography of the self-taught island photographer Giannis Vernardis who kept the only photography shop on the island of Skyros for over thirty years. The story of the photographer's life and his widely circulating photographs are vehicles of varying notions of tradition and modernity that are of central importance in contemporary ethnography and anthropology. By examining the consumption, production and perceptions of the photographer about his work the paper shows how the contemporary notions of history, heritage and tradition on the island of Skyros have been influenced to a large extent by his photographs and how a frozen portrait in time, that of the "old Skyros" has been constructed.

Panel P28
Photography as a research method