Stratos Kalafatis’ pictures document the self-governed Greek Monastic State of of Mount Athos – and center of Orthodox Monasticism – revealing its essence, experientially and spiritually more than aesthetically. They paint the tales of more than 25 journeys, 200 days and nights using saturated electric hues, full face portraits, wide-angle shots and –above all– impressively skilful nocturnal landscapes.
The photographer’s gaze conveys the weight of the Holy Mountain’s thousand-year tradition, its history and spirituality, its inner riches and outward poverty, in entirely contemporary forms, with the sensibility of our own era, blending the glossy and the imposing into an entirely idiosyncratic Pop style.
These elements combine into a unitary whole and serve a single goal: avoiding the pictorial, shunning a documentaristic verisimilitude. He doesn’t document; his interest lies in the pith, the feel, in what’s hidden inside the shell of the obvious, in traces of the absent, the latent essence. In the unseen.
Text © Nikos Xydakis, Stratos Kalafatis
Translated into English by Michael Eleftheriou