Picturing Athens . . .. from afar

Jan Sanders Regional Director of Mediterranean Programs


June 17, 2020

A previous blog post highlighted the work of half of the students in this spring’s Picturing Athens class. Here is some equally impressive work from the other half. Facilitating a class on photographing Athens while the students were in Seattle or Boston, coastal New Jersey or rural Indiana presented a few challenges but these were outnumbered by some surprising gains. Hesitant to leave Greece completely behind and missing their friends, the students uploaded more personal photographs to their portfolios, photographs of each other. Additionally, they shared more of themselves in the descriptions of their photographs and in their written critique of their colleagues’ photographs. An aspiring photographer is quite vulnerable when one of her photographs is put on the screen and the rest of the class engages in a critical analysis of it. This spring semester, that critiquing was done with a sensitivity and kindness that was quite remarkable. 

Enjoy all of the photographs in their original quality here. I share below comments on some of them. 

Alina Fensterer_ColorPop:  The blue green teal color palette of this photograph is highlighted by the fact that Grace matches it so perfectly! “To me, there is something very appealing to photos that are taken from this sort of angle. You can feel the happiness of the image’s main attraction radiating to the viewer. Pictures that allow for feelings of the sort present a most curious sense of tranquility.” Thomas Maranian

Grace Lewis_Sunset:  A gorgeous sunset but so much more! This particular formation of seagulls could only mean Grace is on a ferry somewhere in the Aegean. Nikos Kazantzakis wrote in his Zorba the Greek, “Happy is the person, I thought, who, before dying, has the good fortune to sail the Aegean sea.”

Jack Taylor_Undefined:  “Honestly, not to toot my own horn but I’m hot and I love this picture. Normalize men wearing make-up, who cares, what defines a person is their actions, who cares if Jacky has some red eyeshadow, keep moving on with your day. Thank you.” Jack on Jack

Julia Stewart_Selenasnewfbprofilepicture:  What’s remarkable about Julia’s momentary capture is that I recall Selena always radiating like this. “I really like the pure expression of joy on Selena’s face! It’s almost contagious!” Kathleen Tese

Morgan_Air Mail:  The detail in this beautifully composed photograph is a testament to Morgan’s remarkable eye. “I really like this photo! I think it is actually quite strong, and reminds me quite a bit of Leibovitz’s white dress photo.” Selen Faith

Thomas Maranian_Ecstasy:  Although the semester ended before summer set in, Thomas’ photograph of the warm sun this spring morning manages to capture some of the intensity of a Greek summer. Remarkable among so many beautiful sunset shots, Thomas has learned that the morning sun casts as beautiful a light as the evening sun.

Wes Koerner_Sea:  Athens is a city of hills surrounded on three sides by more hills. Wes’ panoramic landscape shows us that fourth side where the city of Athens meets the neighboring city of Piraeus and they open to the sea. Shot from the hill opposite the hill of the Akropolis, this vista 

Zachary Vlahakis_Time is Fleeting:  Zachary’s Time is Fleeting is a beautiful photograph and a poignant one, a stunning Greek sunset and a reminder that, no matter how hard you try or how much you wish for it, time will not stand still. As the spring 2020 students realized that their semester was about to come to a premature end, many of them uploaded images like this one to their portfolios. Zachary has captured a palpable warmth in his photograph and all of us here in Athens hope this is a warmth that our spring 2020 students took home with them from Greece.