Described as nothing short of “mesmerising”, the photographic exhibition by Nick Bourdaniotis entitled ‘The Evzones Collection’ continues its Australian national tour, opening in Melbourne this weekend.
This follows the resounding success of its recent unveiling in Canberra last month, which raised $15,000 for The Greek School of Canberra after Nick donated three of his exhibition prints to the Hellenic Club of Canberra for auctioning.
Included as part of the official national programme celebrating the Bicentennial of Greece's 1821 War of Independence and endorsed by the Greek Presidential Guard and the Hellenic General Staff of National Defence, a collection of Nick’s most beloved photos have been collated for the exhibition which showcases the Evzones, Greece’s symbol of heroism, in the most majestic light.
Famous worldwide for his photographic brilliance, Nick Bourdaniotis has become the name synonymous with Evzone photography.
Owner of Bourdo Photography, Nick became Director of Photography and Videography for Greek City Times in 2017 and it wasn’t long before his inspired work started to draw attention on the world stage.
Doors began opening, enabling Nick’s creative passion to soar to new levels and earning him the reputation as the esteemed photographer of the Evzones.
Nick Bourdaniotis was soon granted rare, behind the scenes access to restricted areas, such as at the Acropolis and The Parthenon, that other photographers could only dream of.
Nick was also granted exclusive access to the Evzones as their official photographer throughout their visits to Australia.
These opportunities, in combination with Nick’s artistic genius, have enabled him to document moments captured with the Evzones in a way never before seen.
And, in some cases, in a way never, ever to be seen again.
Photos such as those taken by Nick of the Evzones at the Acropolis, prior to the stone path leading to the ancient monument being recently replaced with the smooth walkway to enable easier disabled access, are literally impossible to replicate.
To experience 'The Evzones Collection' Exhibition is to fall in love with the strength, solidarity and mystique that is the Evzones.
And also with the spiritual, brilliant, artistic, creative, shining light of a legend that is world class photographer, Nick Bourdaniotis.
We speak to him about his life's passion of photography, his creative processes, and what inspires him, to find out more about what goes on inside the genius mind of the man behind the lens.
What is your favourite photo and why?
My favourite photo is the now iconic photo taken on the 25th March 2015 where the students from St Spyridon College were walking onto the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House.
Do you remember the moment of capture clearly? What is it that you remember?
Yes I do.
A year before that day at the 2015 25th March Parade, Elia Economou from the Archdiocese of Australia told me that the following year they would be taking the parade back to the Sydney Opera House.
I visualised the photo back then and when I captured the photo it was exactly what I imagined.
The magic combination of the emotions of the students walking in with the Caryatids ancient robes, the Greek and Australian flags with the backdrop of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge was something special to my heart.
The weather was cloudy but the rain held off and really set the tones and mood for the afternoon.
How do you take your photos to that next level in creativity? What do you think it is it that makes them so unique and so ‘Bourdo’?
I was never shown, taught, nor did I attend college or university to learn photography.
Each photo I create is like art. Painting with my digital brush I inscribe my signature sharpness, clarity to create a punch that hits you.
What makes my work stand out is my sense of timing - of capturing a moment of time. I always nail it, it just happens.
Do you know any of the Evzones personally?
Yes, I have kept close contact with the heads of the garrison and a lot of past Evzones that I have photographed have contacted me via Facebook and stayed in touch.
The Evzones are the heart of Greece and are what represents Greece.
Their sense of focus, intensity, and authority, their mystique… all of this inspires me to photograph them.
Their uniform and why they wear it all has a meaning.
I capture and highlight all of this in intricate detail.
In history, the Evzones have been considered to be the elite of the Greece fighting force and now they are seen as the pride of Greece and what Greece represents.
When you photograph an Evzone do they move at all?
I move for the Evzones they never move for me.
I see them coming at me - they never stop and I know to jump out of the way once I have captured the moment I mean to capture. The Evzones keep their eyes always forward. I respect their duty to Greece.
If you could summarise what comes to mind when you think of the Evzones what would that word or phrase be?
Pinnacle of Greece.
If you could summarise your photography and art in one word or phrase, what would it be?
Capturing a moment.
Are you driven to capture all of this emotion because it satisfies something within yourself? Or do you feel that this is your gift to give to others?
I don’t mean to look for it, it’s my gift - to capture a moment in time the way I see.
When I go into my ‘zone of photography’ I only see the flow of the universe and everything else around me is irrelevant, for example, people talking, sounds, all fade into the background and are no longer relevant as I focus on my subject.
Some people have been speechless with emotion when they have seen your photos, why do you think this is? Is there an example that stands out on your mind of a person who has been overcome with emotion after seeing your photography?
I connect to people’s conscious and subconsciousness; this is my gift.
I do this naturally - like most elite artists, their finished work comes to them first in visions of what they see a piece of art should be.
At the exhibition many viewers are overcome with emotion to the point of tears as I activate the Greek DNA within them.
I find people connected to mother earth are especially moved by my photography as it resonates with the light I shine from my art.
One old, fragile Yiayia in Canberra was Greek dancing around my photos.
I didn’t video it as I was too in the moment with her as the photos brought her alive.
It was truly something special - she could hardly walk but she just starting jumping with joy and dancing.
Some of your work can never be replicated such as your work at the Acropolis, tell us about that.
In 2019 I captured an Evzone walking to the flag pole to raise the Greek flag on Sunday morning.
I captured it in a way that looked like an ancient and timeless photo.
The path has since been upgraded into a disabled walkway up to the top of the mountain completely changing the ancient marble trail look.
Now this path is gone and my photo will never be repeated!
What are some examples of where you have been granted rare access to restricted areas that other photographers or videographers may not have been permitted to enter?
I am humbled to have been permitted into places such as the Presidential Palace in Athens, Greece with access that the media were not allowed to have. Also, at the Acropolis where I would amazingly have the Evzones stand for me, away from duty, to capture photos of them.
Another highlight was being granted court side access at the Australian Open tennis amongst only the elite of photographers.
At the State funeral of the late Greek Archbishop of Australia Stylianos, the doors closed briefly and for a special moment it was just me and His Eminence as he lay in his coffin.
I was able to capture a moment that nobody else was there for.
People look at top photographers thinking they are just taking a photo, really we have front row seats to all events and get paid for it!
Plus we get to take selfies with the Greek Prime Minister, such as this one I took with Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
What are some of your favourite moments and places that you were able to photograph that other photographers would find impossible to gain access to? How did you feel while you were there, accomplishing your life’s passion?
The Acropolis, Athens at the Sunday rising and lowering of the Greek flag.
The hoops and hurdles you need to jump through to get there is next level to even think about having a professional camera up the mountain.
It’s everything being Greek, shooting something epic like this.
The emotion. The activation of your ancient DNA within you is something else.
I try to share this through my exhibition.
Another amazing moment was being the first international photographer to shoot the holy flame coming from Jerusalem at Athens Airport.
This was with the team shoot for the TV travel show called ‘My Greek Odyssey’.
No other photographer outside of Greece has captured this Saturday afternoon ceremony.
What are you trying to achieve with your photography? What is your overriding message?
To activate people’s emotions and DNA by showing the light of love, emotion and sprit of what I capture.
In your opinion what makes a great photo?
An eye to capture a subject and to freeze the emotion in time. Clarity and sharpness.
You have also taken some amazing sports photography such as at the Australian Open. Photography of the Evzones would require a very different skill one would assume. How are you able to capture such great shots across two very different styles of photography?
My gift is to see the flow of the universe in a way that not many photographers can see when I am in the 'zone' of photography.
It does not matter what I shoot, I always capture a moment that nobody has captured because I see things in a different sense of light.
In Greek 'photos' means 'light' whilst 'graphé' means 'representation by means of lines', or 'drawing'. Putting the two words together, we get the meaning 'drawing with light.'
'The Evzones Collection' has been a labour of love in the making for a few years now. How does you feel now that it’s actually happening and that your exhibition has started touring around Australia?
It has been a labour of love, yes and I feel what drives me is the love of Greece.
I present to the people in Australia, an exhibition that is so unique and powerful - through which I remind others about their own love of Greece and the love that they have for the mother land.
What does this photo exhibition mean to you?
Giving back the Greek community across Australia what it has given to me by way of its love for my photos.
What was the most exciting part of putting this exhibition together?
Assembling my team: George Karantonis the creative wizard and mastermind to this exhibition; Eirini Alligiannis – I appreciate her eye for photos and ability to collate a story and storyline plus her experience of exhibitions in the past shows when assembling the exhibition; also Elia Economou the Master of Ceremonies and responsible for the logistics of the national exhibition.
Will you continue to focus on the Evzones as a photographic subject over the coming years? What does the future hold?
Yes, I still have not photographed the Evzones in USA, Northern Greece or at the border of Greece Turkey. These are next on my list.
Once I capture New York I will be sending 'The Evzones Collection’ exhibition to the USA.
What subjects or styles do you have in mind that you would like to explore creatively in the future?
As a director at Greek City Times for photography, I get to travel the world capturing everything Greek and Greek at heart.
All subjects and styles are always different. When I retire I do want to capture an island called Kytheria in a way no other photographer has done before.
You started photography with a young family - wife Erenie, son Billy (age 17) and daughter Krissie (age 15). What is their reaction to your photography and to the photo exhibition?
We don’t really talk about it too much as all throughout their lives my kids have seen amazing photos that I have taken and so they kinda think it’s normal for dad to shoot great photos!
It’s never a subject of choice at the dinner table.
My wife is similar as she is also a bit immune due to seeing exceptional photos all the time - she thinks its normal!
When asked about Nick Bourdaniotis, ‘The Evzones Collection’ Exhibition Director George Karantonis had this to say:
"There are good photographers and there are great photographers.
“A good photographer captures moments in time in the best possible light, but great photographers create moments to capture through their lens, even where there is nothing there.
"They create something out of nothing.
“As a photographer myself, with over 20 years of experience, I can safely say Nick is a great photographer who has the ability to turn the ordinary into extraordinary."
And with this well articulated opinion, we, at Greek City Times, would definitely have to agree.
The Evzones Collection Exhibition:
The Evzones Collection exhibition runs across Australia on the following dates in 2021. Entry is free and no bookings are required
Saturday 20th February – Sunday 21st February
Hellenic Club of Canberra
27 March – April 04 2021
Oakleigh Grammar Conference Center
77/81 Willesden Rd, Oakleigh, Victoria, 3166.
Saturday 27 March, Sunday 28 March: 2:00pm – 6:30pm
Monday 29 March to Thursday 01 April: 3:00pm – 7:30pm
Friday 02 April to Sunday 04 April: 2:00pm – 6:30pm
Friday 23 April– Sunday 25 April 2021
The Holy Monastery of St Nectarios
81-93 Regency Rd, Croydon Park SA 5008
Early June -exact dates TBA
Hellenic Club Sydney, Beta / The Grande Level 2.
Level 2/238 Castlereagh St, Sydney NSW 2000
Friday 30 July – Sunday 01 August 2021
Greek Club of Brisbane, Acropolis/Olympus Room on the ground floor
Friday 19 November- Sunday 21 November
Greek National Day Council Victoria
For more information or to buy:
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