Plastic Arts - Photography

In the field of the plastic arts there were many artists who were inspired by the experience of the Occupation and registered it in their work. The engravings of Yannis Kephallinos, Vasso Katraki and Tassos are well-known, as the technique of their work allowed it to be reproduced thus making it accessible to a wider public. These works along with the woodcuts of Spyros Vaseileiou, that were published in Nea Estia from 1942 on, drew their subjects from the hardships that the Greek people had suffered in the nightmarish conditions of the Occupation and the struggle of the Resistance.
Similar subjects were used in the work of Minos Argyrakis, Ilias Fertis and Valias Semertzidis, as well as younger artists, then students at the School of Fine Arts, such as Yorgos Vakirtzis, Nikos Barboglou and Yannis Stefanidis. All the above held exhibitions in free Greece, while Yannis Stefanidis designed the badge of EPON.
A precious historical testimony, at the end of this tragic period, was supplied by significant Greek photographers such as Voula Papaioannou, Kostas Balaphas and Spyros Meletzis.
Voula Papaioannou, with the help of the engraver Yannis Kephallinos, published and smuggled abroad during the Occupation a hand-made
album containing material based on starving Greeks and the skeleton-like children she had photographed in the hospitals she visited. After the departure of the Germans she toured various regions of Greece in order to record the disasters and the living conditions in the countryside.
Kostas Balaphas and Spyros Meletzis were establised through their work as illustrators of the Resistance.
Kostas Balaphas took to the mountains in 1942 and was enlisted in ELAS. He joined the 85th Regiment, with whom he had the chance to move freely and, with the help of Leandros Vranoussis, the youngest councellor of PEEA who kept notes, compiled a valuable photographic record. These photographs, which are at the same time a testimony and a travelogue and were saved with a lot of effort, provide invaluable evidence of our modern history.
Spyros Meletzis, in his turn, equipped with his photographic camera went up the liberated mountains and, from 1942, immortalized many well-known and unknown fighters and political figures, but also important historical moments of the struggle, such as the meeting of the National Council at Koryschades (May 1944). Possessing a special sensitivity he put emphasis in his work on female figures, for instance the antartisses (female guerillas), while generally in his work can be traced a special interest in aesthetics attributed to a tendency to transcend reality.