Robert McCabe, Mycenae 1954. To Katamesimero

Robert McCabe, Mycenae 1954. To Katamesimero

Athens Art Gallery

Sometimes you need someone else’s glance to see the beauty of your own life.

Robert McCabe’s photos of Greece’s past, its landscape and people, captured and indeed preserved the beauty and purity of a bygone era.

American acclaimed photographer Robert McCabe visited Greece many years ago and as he says “I came to Greece for vacation in the summer of 1954 and in reality I never left”.

Athens Art Gallery invites us to witness the uniqueness of his work through the exhibition Robert McCabe, Mycenae 1954. To Katamesimero, which will last from the 3rd of November until the 5th of December 2015.

The series of photos presented at the exhibition shade light onto 140 years of archeology initiated by Heinrich Schliemann in the late 19th century, and which lifted the saga of the House of Atreus from the oblivion and the darkness of the grave.

The photographs are accompanied by the vivid text of Athina Kakouri, who was the wife of Professor Spyros Iakovidis, one of the main “players” in this drama, and the comments of Lisa Wace French.

Robert McCabe’s photographs, sensitive and often poetic, depict the archaeological site and the surrounding area as it was in 1954 and 1955, before tourism changed the idyllic and dramatic land forever.

Robert McCabe talked to Eleni Zymaraki Tzortzi.

 E.Z. What are the feelings and thoughts that these photographs bring to you today?

They bring back to me the sense of tranquility and unspoiled beauty of Mycenae in 1954 and 1955. The contrasts are great. The crowds and the tour bus groups don’t easily allow one to reflect quietly on the site and its legendary figures.

E.Z. Your ties with Greece are strong; what have we lost from the period that your photos presented at this exhibition managed to capture?

I think Many individual areas of Greece have lost or are losing their unique cultures, often developed through isolation. Today with high speed highways and high speed ferries and jet airplanes isolation is all but finished. So the cultures of individual places have become homogenized and have lost their unique individuality.

E.Z. Your photos of 1954 from Mycenae rescue for the next generations, not only images, but also the sense of a bygone era. If you were to visit Mycenae today what would you capture with your camera in order to rescue it for the generations to come?

 Sometimes it’s interesting to photograph tourists on a site and their reactions to it, but generally I prefer to photograph places like Mycenae without tourists. So I would enjoy making a mid winter trip and record today’s Mycenae at a low point of visitors.

E.Z. What is your most vivid memory from the time you were taking these photos?

Professor Alan Wace, his love of Greece and the Greeks; his extraordinary knowledge of Mycenae and other sites in the Peloponnesus.

E.Z. You have been photographing Greece and its residents over the last 60 years; what have you learned about this place and its people?

I’ve learned that very few countries in the world have the natural beauty of Greece. And I have learned that a few unscrupulous or heartless people can destroy the beauty of a place very quickly.


Athens Art Gallery

Robert McCabe, Mycenae 1954. To Katamesimero




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