CENTER’s Exhibitor’s Choice 1st Place Award: Demetris Koilalous
Demetris Koilalous received 1st Place in CENTER’s Exhibitor’s Choice Award. His project and book, CAESURA, “is a collection of photographs about the transitory state of refugees and migrants who have entered Greece after crossing the Aegean Sea on their way to Europe.” Krzystof Candrowicz, Artistic director of Hamburg Triennial of Photography selected Demetris’s work for this award and his statement is below.
The Choice Awards recognize outstanding photographers working in all processes and subject matter. The Awards are divided into four categories: Curator’s Choice, Editor’s Choice, Director’s Choice and Exhibitor’s Choice. Winners receive recognition via exhibition, publication, portfolio reviews and more. The Choice Award winners are invited to participate in an exhibition in Santa Fe, New Mexico during Review Santa Fe.
Krzysztof Candrowicz is a curator, art director, researcher and educator. He is the Co-founder and director of the International Festival of Photography in Lodz and Foundation of Visual Education. Since January 2014, he works as artistic director of the Triennial of Photography in Hamburg.
Open calls mean diversity. Open calls made the photography world more inclusive. Open calls gave opportunities for artists to be visible and for curators to discover outstanding work. The submission procedure itself is rather technical, but on both sides of this process people are behind it. Therefore preparing a proper portfolio and final curator’s choice make this practice so human. Selection is our daily life. We are natural born curators.
I feel thankful for being a part of the Choice Awards. It’s a way to discover new works, waves and tendencies. On the one hand going through hundreds of applications and mixtures of all kinds of projects can be a challenging practice but for me it’s first of all a very absorbing activity that opens a way to discover and understand other perspectives.
This time I noticed there was a strong focus on social, economic and environmental changes in society. I observed that more and more projects were kind of personal statements about the current global situation. Consequently I have chosen three bodies of work that provided evidence of and a comment on certain issues of importance that are found in society. I’m satisfied that photography as a technology and medium remains transparent and the main focus goes to process observation, recognition and interpretation.
Demetris Koilalous born in Athens where he lives & work,specializing in portrait,theatre and advertising photography. His love for photography originates and his enthusiastic passion to observe –an obsession which he inherited from his father- a keen philatelist.Demtris’ childhood memories from the mysterious landscape of the Campos of Chios -residence of the local aristocracy of the C18th -shaped his conception of the Landscape and ever since he has been looking for the mystery and ambiguity in every space that he photographs. He came across photography in Oxford in 1982 as a student. The same year he got his first camera and his first photographic books: “Les autres Ameriques” by S.Salgado & “Ordeal by Roses” by Hosoe & Y.Mishima; both influenced his oeuvre decisively. He studied Town Planning and Geography in Edinburgh & London. Demetris was photographing passionately throughout those years,but was thrilled by the way he could correlate diverse disciplines like politics and philosophy with Art.In the 80s he got introduced to the secret and allegorical space of Theatre -a world of underlying relationships and invisible coordinated threads of interaction. Ultimately,exactly like in Theatre,photography poses questions about space,people and their hidden relations.Photography is about exposing the hidden layers of reality.It is a series of optical philosophical questions; enigmatic and ambiguous.
CAESURA is a collection of photographs about the transitory state of refugees and migrants who have entered Greece after crossing the Aegean Sea on their way to Europe.
Typically CAESURA manifests a brief silent pause in the middle of a poetic verse or a musical phrase used in this context as a metaphor for a silent break amid two violent and distressed periods.
The characters of CAESURA have a temporary identity as they stand in front of the camera in a state of transition and uncertainty, transmitting an ambiguous feeling of restlessness and tranquility; emanating a sense of intemporality and durability as if they have existed beyond time. They almost suspend on the verge of name and anonymity, standing determined between two discontinuous moments. The surrounding space remains reclusive and undisclosed -without distinct landmarks, yet at the same time it is an actual and relevant topographic context. It is a space “amidst”, caught in a transitory time “in-between”.
CAESURA is a collection of personal narratives and private moments of people who are caught in an intermediate and neutral space, pausing before they continue their journey. At the same time they build and shield those temporary microcosms, which they create en route as a mainstay of their identity and culture.
But behind the stereotypical nameless mask of the ‘refugee’, these are the portraits of the new European citizens bearing with them the melancholy of their past and the hardship of their route, while demonstrating a determination to place themselves in a new global reality and a commitment to negate the anonymity of History.
CAESURA does not attempt to provide answers or simply make a historic statement about this phenomenal mass exodus by exposing the human agony but it rather raises questions about human condition and identity.
Posts on Lenscratch may not be reproduced without the permission of the Lenscratch staff and the photographer.
The 2021 Paula Riff Award: Katie ShapiroJuly 23rd, 2021
Lenscratch Student Prize Honorable Mention: Chantal LesleyJuly 22nd, 2021
Lenscratch Student Award Honorable Mention: Vanessa LeroyJuly 20th, 2021