Effy Alexakis ‘Forty Photographs: A Year at a Time’ book to launch in Greece


Since 1982, documentary photographer Effy Alexakis and her partner and historian, Leonard Janiszewski, have dedicated their research to exploring the historical and contemporary presence of Greek-Australians, both within Australia and abroad.

Their national project and archive ‘In Their Own Image: Greek Australians’ is recognised as one of the largest collections of Greek-Australian material in the country.

Effy Alexakis: Forty Photographs – A Year at a Time is a collection of images from the vast archive, with one image selected to represent each year over the past forty years to reveal the changing face of Greek Australians.

Effy Alexakis. © Marinco Kojdanovski.

The Australian Embassy in Athens will host an ‘in conversation’ event between Ms Alexakis, Mr Janiszewski, Dr Lita Tzortzopolou-Gregory of the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens and the Australian Ambassador, Alison Duncan.

The discussion will focus upon the four decades of research, exhibitions and publications undertaken by Ms Alexakis and Mr Janiszewski on the Greek-Australian historical and contemporary experience, both in Australia and internationally, and the celebratory publication of that milestone.

The event will serve as the official launch of the new book in Greece that will be available at the event together with other works by Ms Alexakis and Mr Janiszewski.

Leonard Janiszewski.

The Book: Forty Photographs

In 2022 Alexakis accessed her archive on the Greek-Australian experience and selected one contemporary image, together with its associated story, to represent each year since 1982.

Each photograph evidenced salient aspects significant to the personal journey of the photographer and her evolving understanding of her community and heritage – both within Australia and overseas – and in so doing, she provides a unique visual insight into the ongoing story of one of the most emblematic sociocultural groups within the flux and challenges of a contemporary multicultural society.

“At the start of my photographic documentary project it was important for me to capture the evolving public declarations of ‘Greekness’ within the Australian context – essentially a hybridised, communal cultural identity fusing selective aspects of British Australia with particular elements of Hellenic heritage and tradition,” Alexakis said about the process.

The exquisitely designed hardcover, limited-edition book, features Alexakis’ ongoing documentary work and personal photographic aesthetic, an introductory text by the photographer, and two engaging essays offering insights into the national significance of her visual journey – the first essay is written by Richard Neville, Mitchell Librarian, State Library of NSW, Sydney; the second by Janiszewski. 

Effy Alexakis: Forty Photographs – A Year at a Time book cover.

Mr Neville, said “Effy sees herself very much as a documentary photographer and, I would suggest, a social historian.”

“A hallmark of her work is her capacity to engage with her subjects – the impact of her photography is its fundamental humanity.”

Time is not suspended in Alexakis’ photos, with her “studies full of life” and “of pasts that have relevance to our contemporary moment,” Dr Piperoglou described the photography captured in the book.

“To contemplate the dynamics of migrant belonging through Alexakis’ documenting eye is to be drawn into the strangely familiar, deeply benevolent past that has significant relevance to my own sense of belonging today, and, I hope, our collective sense of belonging in the years to come,” Dr Piperoglou added.

Greek National Day, 25th of March 1984 at Opera House forecourt, Sydney, NSW.

Greek national day 1984

The photograph on March 25 1984, which is features in the book, celebrates both the Annunciation, which commemorates the announcement by the angel Gabriel to Mary that she will give birth to Christ the Saviour, and Greek National Day.

Utilising the religious significance of the day for symbolic effect, Metropolitan Germanos of Patra, Greece, proclaimed his blessing for the Greeks to enter into conflict with the Ottoman Empire, in the hope of achieving their freedom, on 25 March 1821. 

The day is traditionally celebrated by Greek communities across the globe.

“There is a consistent humanity in Alexakis’ photographs, coupled to outstanding craft. Her photographs are never of the subject merely placed against an appropriate background,” photography critic Robert McFarlane described.

Alexakis was also described by actor, director and arts administrator, Lex Marinos OAM, as “a magician of moments.”

Alexakis with Lex Marinos. © Marinco Kojdanovski.

Event details:

The event be held at 6:00pm on Wednesday, September 27, 2023 at 5 Chatzigianni Mexi Street (Level 2), Athens, at the Australian Embassy.

In Australia the book is available from: Cafe and Milk Bars

Read more: Effy Alexakis officially launches her ‘Forty Photographs: A Year at a Time’ exhibition




By subscribing you accept our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.


Latest News

Multicultural media’s vital role in public interest journalism a key message at Sydney event

Multicultural media's vital role in public interest journalism was a key message at a Sydney event by IMMA.

‘Into the Moonlit Village’ echoes of Battle of Crete and Minoan myth

The story behind ‘Into the Moonlit Village’ is as captivating as the work itself. We found out more to mark the Battle of Crete.

Generations of Pontians remember their roots at genocide commemoration in Melbourne

Melbourne's Pontian community commemorated the Greek Genocide on Sunday, May 19, as part of a series of events. Read more here.

Australian Hellenic Medical Charity raises $30,000 for Nicosia hospital

The Australian Hellenic Medical Charity raised $30,000 for the Paediatric Clinic at Makarios III Hospital in Nicosia, Cyprus.

Iran’s President and Foreign Minister killed in helicopter crash

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister have been killed in a helicopter crash, state media has reported.

You May Also Like

Largest-ever Greek flag raised above Lake Plastira at Agrafa

Authorities in the region of Karditsa, central Greece, raised what they claim to be the largest Greek flag in history at Agrafa on Sunday.

Vasili’s Taxidi: When Sydney Businesses Become Social Institutions – STEKI Taverna

STEKI Taverna’s history dates back to 1983 when Harry Tambakeras (and his partners) established it for university students to meet and socialise

Greek authorities prevent over 15,000 migrants from crossing Turkey-Greece border – Where is the United Nations?

Thousands of migrants and refugees massed at Turkey’s western frontier Sunday, trying to enter Greece by land and sea after Turkey said its borders were open to those hoping to head to Europe.