What happened during the Inter Arts photography workshop – Athens, July 4th, 2020
It was a hot summer afternoon when we started gathering. On the 4th of July, at around 7 p.m. young people with an interest for photography came together at Avdi square at the center of Athens, Greece. “This is about a camera and you!” was the title given to this meeting, in the frame of Inter Arts, aiming to use non-formal education methods to acquaint young people with the photographic way of seeing their surroundings, the assumptions connected to visual expression and the experience of bridging personal gaps through creativity.
The neighborhood around the square is one of the more intercultural ones in downtown Athens.
Small businesses of immigrants, warehouses of imported goods from Asia, hip cafes, open public spaces, abandoned buildings and large facilities of public utilities, Avdi square in Metaxourgeio provides a visual and social explosion of diversity.
Starting the activity, the participants got to know each other, by introducing themselves, through their favourite animals. Then, with a brief activity of changing perspectives, the attention was drawn to how different people focus on different things and have different perspectives when looking the same way. The goal was both conceptual and sensory. On one hand, to highlight the different factors going into personal perspective, on the other hand to get the participants focusing deliberately on what they actually see.
Transitioning from the preparatory part to the main activities of the meeting, a photo exhibition taking place at a corner of the square was put into use. A photography group named 443 Photographica (named after a comet of the same name!) were exhibiting their artworks under the name “Moving Light”. Many Black and White photos, and some with colour, with structures, portraits and a personal view to every one’s collection. The participants were invited to go around the exhibition, enjoy the artworks and try to draw some conclusions for the photographers through their artistic expression. Reassembling in a circle, participants shared their thoughts on how it is quite difficult to say things about someone only through their artworks. Some said they felt pushed into assumptions. Others said they saw some part from the way the artists felt. The shared belief was that it is quite difficult to draw conclusions from the visual expression of someone, but there are hints of themselves in their photos.
As time passed, the sun was setting and the square was turning to a bustling place, with children running, people discussing, parents pushing carts and youngsters socializing. The participants were quite surprised from how they were drawn to observe the evolution of the space around them during the 2 hours of the meeting.
The final part of the activity was to invite participants to create their own images and share them with the group, exposing them to their comments. The group discussed about about the different interpretations an image can have, independently of the creator’s intention.
The activity concluded by discussing what can photography reveal about the creator, as a means of expression, what it cannot, and about the usefulness of bridging personal gaps using images and photography as a medium.
– The “InterArts – Youth Communities for Social Inclusion” is a project aiming at empowering young people to fight against discrimination and social exclusion through the use of artistic activities, by deploying an innovative non-formal methodologytargeted to young people living in marginalised conditions. Project ID: 2018-2-IT03-KA205-014105, Strategic Partnership in the field of Youth, KA2, Erasmus+. Find detailed information about the project at www.interarts.eu
– The activity was designed by Alexandros Vakoulas for Inter Alia, based on the project’s guidelines.
– Learn more about 443 Photographica photography group here.
To know more about the design of the workshop, contact Alexandros at firstname.lastname@example.org