ATHENS – A conference and the opening of two exhibitions, dedicated to the man who met, loved, and photographed post-war Greece – and not only – Robert McCabe, took place in Delphi, on June 10. The date was not accidental, as it marks the 79th anniversary of the massacre of Distomo, one of the most heinous of World War II by the German occupying forces.
“On June 10, 1944, the massacre occurred in Distomo, a neighbor of Delphi, one of the greatest atrocities of the Nazi German occupation in Greece. Seventy-nine years later, the exhibition of the exceptional photographs of a great Philhellenic American photographer, the charismatic Robert McCabe, opens, documenting representative aspects of post-war Greece’s path towards modernization. In the 25 years between the end of the Civil War and the Postcolonial Revolution, Greek society experienced world-historical changes, a leapfrog development at all levels,” noted the president of the European Cultural Center of Delphi (EPKED), Harvard University professor, Panagiotis Roilos, welcoming the conference entitled ‘Robert McCabe’s Post-war Greece.’ The conference was held in the Eleni Ahrweiler Hall of the EPKED Conference Center shortly before the opening of the exhibition ‘Greece after the War: The Years of Hope.’
The exhibition, held by EPKED in the Exhibition Hall of the Delphi Conference Center, runs until the end of September. It presents 70 photographs by McCabe, black and white as well as in color, which ‘narrate’ the post-war history of the country as he recorded it during his travels in the 1950s and 1960s, from Epirus to Crete and from Pylos to Rhodes. The ‘mosaic’ of his wanderings in Greece is also framed by a slide show of photos. The coordination and research was carried out by the journalist Katerina Lymberopoulou, who along with Professor Panagiotis Roilos, wrote the texts in the exhibition and the book of the same name from Pataki Publications that accompanies it. The exhibition is also accompanied by the English-language (Abbeville Press) edition, with the two books under the auspices of the European Cultural Center of Delphi.
The great American photographer and Philhellene, who was naturalized as an honorary Greek citizen a few years ago, visited Greece for the first time in 1954, a journey that has continued for decades. His photographs are historical documents of an era in which the country was emerging, exhausted from a decade of bloody wars, but with the hope and smiles of its people looking towards a brighter future. Like Eleni, Maria and Lambrini, the three little girls from Ano Peristeri in Epirus one of the regions of Greece which experienced terrible atrocities in World War II – who, despite poverty and deforestation, in 1961, smile wide for the new photographer’s lens. Their photo, which is one of the first to be found in the exhibition hall of the EPKED Conference Center, is right next to a much more recent photo, where the same ‘girls’ are smiling expressively in a similar pose.
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