Ways of Escape, the latest and ongoing series by Greek photographer Antonis Theodoridis, looks at Athens in a different light to the gloomy one cast on the city by the country’s recent economic crisis – namely, the sunlight that continues to bathe its streets with a dazzling glow.
Having felt the tensions growing in Athens over the last decade and observing its effects not only on his surroundings, but on a personal level too, Antonis – alongside many other Athenians – faces a constant struggle “between deciding to ditch it all and move abroad, or sticking to the city and facing its ordeal.” After deciding to stay put, he realised the need to rediscover and document the charm of his hometown. “I needed to hold on to something greater than just a practical compromise,” he tells It’s Nice That. “I started exploring the city looking for beauty, contrasts and little enigmas. Anything that would disrupt the way the city is portrayed, or the way I perceive it.”
In order to do this, Antonis chased the Athenian sunlight, which he says renders the “complex, enigmatic scenes” found in his photos. Speaking on the subject of his pursuit, Antonis describes the unique light as “bright, harsh and yellowish”, reflecting on the beige, textured walls of the city and “creating an emotional context for the work”. The result is a series that is dominated by a warm, muted colour palette that perfectly captures the balance between the “deterioration and rebirth, anger and fascination, ugliness and beauty,” visible in its scenes.
Shot on a manual, medium format camera using colour-negative film, Ways of Escape is filled with raw beauty. It’s a reminder that despite all the smashed glass, barbed wire fences and painted-over windows, life goes on in Athens.
With regards to the future of his project, Antonis says it will be finished once it finds closure in book form. Where the future of his home is concerned, however, Antonis sees no end to the “hope, unrest and cultural mixing” that has been taking place there for thousands of years. “I don’t see that changing anytime soon,” he says. “Frankly, I don’t even think I would like that to change.”
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