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Ethical question

Burnt land

Monument of Coubertin. The Coubertin Grove is also visited and paid homage to by the first runner in the Olympic torch relay, following the lighting of the Olympic Flame on the Altar of Hera in Ancient Olympia. The runner lights a marble altar in the Grove, in honour of the man who revived the Olympic Games, and afterwards sets off, thus beginning the traditional race to Athens and ending up at the host city.
Burnt land, Panayiotis Lamprou

75 lives were lost during the fires in the summer of 2007 in Hellas. A million acres turned into charcoal, 600.000 was forest, and 320.000 rural ground. 70% were olive productions. More than 4000 buildings burnt down, about 2000 were houses. 3000 rural instruments and machines, 300 stables. 25.000 sheep and goats burned.

An undeclared war which lasted for three months. The government failed to defend and organize the country leading its land and forests to burn without barriers. People were helpless, disorganized and unprepared to encounter the catastrophe.

Endless moments of agony in the news about this mass destruction. The state officials could not handle the fires and the politicians hid under undignified excuses. The victims cried for help in the void of a television camera. The last fire ended in mid September. In October we had elections that promised for reconstructions but these were never realized and the new government did not find any ways to solve the various problems, instead abandoned any attempts very early.

I visited Peloponnesus in November of 2007 until May of 2008. Its wider region is of particular significance due to Ancient Olympia and the spirit that symbolizes it. The Olympic Games took place in Athens in 2004 honoring the monumental place and returning to its origin. In 2007 3/4 of the forest of this ancient landscape was burnt.

It was midnight when I arrived in Ancient Olympia, I stopped underneath Kronios hill, there was a deep silence, I heard nothing. The burnt trees had been cut down, reforestation was being prepared specially for the ceremony of the Olympic Flame for the Olympic Games in 2008. There was no sign of life, no sound other than my breath, I felt as if in a locked empty room. The smell was of wet burnt wood, the ground soft and thin.

Catastrophe is a zero point of being. I followed a route across the burnt land searching for the development of the remaining life.

Ancient Olympia is the only area where the reforestation took place. A main reason is the Olympic games of 2008 which are going to take place in China. The technique is to cut down the burnt trees and lay them down so that the groud remains stable from the rain and thus can plant new trees. The cost was 2,7 million euro, and 150.000 euro for the ceremony of the olympic flame.

1.000.000 sq.m burned. Of which 600.000 sq.m is forest and 320.000 sq.m is rural ground. 70% were olive productions. The only sound around on the top of Platiana Acropolis was the saw cutting of the burned olive trees.
Traces of the crash on the road from Artemida to Zaxaro, 23 people were trapped by the fire when a fire brigate was coming to save the people from the accident, they tried to escape but did not make it. Among the victims were a mother with her four children and a grandmother with her two grandchildren.
Sunday in the orthodox church,attendance on women side.
Church dedicated to “Virgin Mary” from Smerna. The story says that a man found an icon on top of the rocks at 700 altitude and there he decided to build a church in honor.
Arbitrary house
Self-made oven.

Turn of street from Artemida to Zaxaro, 23 people were trapped by a car accident and were killed by the fire. Monuments remind the horror and bless the victims.
Cranes, trying and finally manages to extricate a colleague who stucked in the mud of the river.

Q&A with Panayiotis Lamprou

Photography is…
Through photography we perceive perpetually moments for qualitative viewing. It describes our relationship with the present and explains the value of memory as the distance between presence and ignorance.

Photography and writing…
1- What is normal? 0- Normal is the expression.

Who left the biggest impression on you?
I synthesize my images measuring through influences of Josef Sudek, Walker Evans, Eugene Atget, Diane Arbus and Guido Guidi.

Tell us a little about yourself
I am a unique synthesis of time and space / I express a one and only speech of existence / But what I do is not more important than a leaf of a tree my friend / And as a leaf I breath in the glory / of being and of feeling matter”.
If logic can not explain well the world we see / then poetry might say a word to relieve.

de_kreek_momentum_2 001Panayiotis Lamprou (, born in Athens in 1975. His work reflects personal, social and creative concerns, always with the same working approach, at the level of vision. He persists dialectically, that the photographer’s way of viewing is the quality reference of visual language. The variety of the photographer’s themes connects at this point with the dramatic representations of life.
It is realized that the visual arts are expressed with criterion the harmonious management of proportions of systems that they evolve. The visual art reality is tangible and involves qualitative reasonable approaches in order to create a new reading in matter.

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