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Stavros Messinis to launch new photobook ‘Iland’ at Melbourne’s Greek Centre

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A new photopoetic composition of Stavros Messinis, Iland, will be launched by the Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture in Melbourne on Saturday, April 30 at 2 pm.  

This new exhibition will be launched by Esther Anatolitis, one of Australia’s leading advocates of the arts and an honorary assistant professor at RMIT University’s School of the Arts in Melbourne.

His photographic composition was created and collated over the course of four years, during which the artist conducted research and experimentation techniques throughout his postgraduate studies. 

“Endless hours of research, study, experimentation with various techniques and methods, led to the printed photographic composition Iland, the artist tells The Greek Herald. 

Messinis discusses the inspiration behind his work and says it came to him during a walk with a friend around Churchill Island, a small island near San Remo, Victoria. 

“We were discussing the poem Ithaca by Constantine P. Cavafy and the same time, I was taking photographs,” Messinis explains.

“This is a place I visit often, and it feels like ‘home’.”

The artist describes how being in that environment of desolation, abandonment and isolation, in conjunction with the conversation of Cavafy’s poem, was the original vision for the Iland series. 

Iland consists of a series of photopoems arranged together in a cinematic sequence, without conscious thought or the need to follow a specific narrative. They all together visually and aesthetically indicate the realisation of a poetic journey in an indefinite time and dimension leading to an imaginative “homeland.” 

“My images have been focused on a series of photos taken during 2020 and 2021 in Victoria and archive photos taken in places I have lived and travelled: Australia, China and Europe,” Messinis says. 

The artist consciously created the photobook in a way so that it can be entered at different points and doesn’t require chronological reading.  

“It attempts to establish a ‘personal place,’ which enlightens my artistic expression and perception, as well as my emotions and thoughts on what is happening around me,” he says. 

Messinis’ research and work concern photopoetry, the relationship between poetry and photography, and the possibilities offered by contemporary photography for the photopoetry to function as an independent art form.

“Traditionally, photopoetry is based on the collaboration of poetry and photography. In my new work I try to create photopoems without the use of words or poems,” Messinis explains. 

“I create photopoems in a similar way as when I write poetry.”

Iland is the result of many days of experimentation and mixing of photographs, and personal interventions on the surface of images in various ways.”

Messinis is an award-winning photographer. He studied photography and journalism in Greece and Australia. His works have been presented in solo and group exhibitions.

His photographic edition Dream State won the ‘Best Photo Book Design Award 2018’ at the ‘CCP Salon 2018’ of the Centre for Contemporary Photography (Australia) and was also selected for the ‘Australia and New Zealand Photo Book Award 2018.’

His upcoming exhibition and book launch are supported by The Greek Community of Melbourne, The Greek Centre for Contemporary Culture, the Greek Quarter, the Greek Australian Cultural League, The Photography Studies College, and M+Art Books.

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