Esteemed Evzones Photographer Nick Bourdaniotis. The Legend Behind the Lens.

Esteemed Evzones Photographer Nick Bourdaniotis. The Legend Behind the Lens. 1

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.

Nick Bourdo Nick Bourdaniotis The Evzones Collection
Nick Bourdaniotis on the day of the the media launch of the ‘The Evzones Collection’ exhibition

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.

The Evzones Collection Nick Bourdo
After ANZAC day parade taken at Alpha restaurant, Sydney, Australia in 2016.
Nick Bourdo Nick Bourdaniotis The Evzones Collection
The Presidential Guard (Evzone) Melbourne visit in 2018 for the 25th March celebration at the Shrine of Remembrance.

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.

Esteemed Evzones Photographer Nick Bourdaniotis. The Legend Behind the Lens. 5

Esteemed Evzones Photographer Nick Bourdaniotis. The Legend Behind the Lens. 6

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.

The Evzones Collection Nick Bourdo
Nick’s favourite photo taken. 25th March 2015 Sydney Opera House forecourt. Copyright Bourdo Photography.

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.

Nick Bourdaniotis
The Presidential Guard (Evzone) presenting a gift to the late Archbishop Stylianos at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia 2018 as captured by Nick Bourdaniotis

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.

Nick Bourdo Bourdaniotis The Evzones Collection

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.

The Evzones Collection Nick Bourdo Nick Bourdaniotis
Nick Bourdaniotis at The Presidential Guard headquarters in Athens after a presentation of an Evzone

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.

Esteemed Evzones Photographer Nick Bourdaniotis. The Legend Behind the Lens. 7

Nick Bourdo Nick Bourdaniotis The Evzone Collection
The Presidential Guard (Evzones) walking up to raise the Greek flag Sunday morning at the acropolis.

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.

Nick Bourdo Nick Bourdaniotis
Performance at the 2016 Brisbane Paniyiri festival

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.

The Evzones Collection Nick Bourdo Nick Bourdaniotis
The Presidential Guard (Evzones) preparing to lower the Greek flag Sunday evening at the Acropolis

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.

Nick Bourdaniotis The Evzones Collection Nick Bourdo
A personal tour of The Evzones Collection photo exhibition for His Grace Bishop Emilianos

The Evzones Collection Nick Bourdo Bourdaniotis

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!

The Evzones Collection Nick Bourdo Bourdaniotis
The Presidential Guard (Evzones) walking up to raise the Greek flag Sunday morning at the Acropolis. This photo is now ‘historic’ and can never be replicated as the path has since been replaced with a smooth walkway to better enable disabled access.

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.

Esteemed Evzones Photographer Nick Bourdaniotis. The Legend Behind the Lens. 8
The Presidential Guard (Evzones) raising the Greek flag Sunday morning at the Acropolis
Nick Bourdaniotis
Nick Bourdaniotis at The Presidential Guard headquarters in Athens Sunday morning, as they prepare to march down Athens streets to the Tomb of the Unknown Solider ceremony

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.

Nick Bourdaniotis
Nick Bourdaniotis was photographer for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia at the late Archbishop Stylianos State Funeral in 2019

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.

Esteemed Evzones Photographer Nick Bourdaniotis. The Legend Behind the Lens. 9
One of the perks of the job. Nick Bourdaniotis ‘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.

Nick Bourdaniotis Nick Bourdo My Greek Odyssey
Photo captured by Nick being the first international photographer to capture the holy flame coming from Jerusalem for the TV travel show My Greek Odyssey
The Evzones Collection Nick Bourdo
‘My Greek Odyssey’ crew, (Chief) Kyriakos Moschos, Nick Bourdaniotis (Boat Captain) with Host Ioannis Papachristou and Executive Producer Peter Manias

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.’

Esteemed Evzones Photographer Nick Bourdaniotis. The Legend Behind the Lens. 10
Stefanos Tsitsipas at the Australian open in 2019
The Evzones Collection Nick Bourdo
Thessi Kouzoukas co/owner of Sabo Skirt wedding in Kytheria Greece 2019.

‘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.

Nick Bourdo Boudaniotis
‘The Evzones Collection’ Exhibition Team L-R: Elia Economou, Nick Bourdaniotis, Eirini Alligiannis, George Karantonis

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!

The Evzones Collection Nick Bourdo
Nick Bourdaniotis with his proud family. L-R Billy Bourdaniotis, Erenie Bourdaniotis, Nick Bourdaniotis, Krissy Bourdaniotis

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 Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Nick Bourdo Nick Bourdaniotis
The Presidential Guard visit to the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia with the late Archbishop Stylianos in 2018
Nick Bourdaniotis
The Ordination of his Grace Bishop Emilianos on Christmas Day at the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia

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

Canberra:

Saturday 20th February – Sunday 21st February

Hellenic Club of Canberra

Melbourne:

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

Adelaide:

Friday 23 April– Sunday 25 April 2021

The Holy Monastery of St Nectarios

81-93 Regency Rd, Croydon Park SA 5008

Sydney:

Early June -exact dates TBA

Hellenic Club Sydney, Beta / The Grande Level 2.

Level 2/238 Castlereagh St, Sydney NSW 2000

Brisbane:

Friday 30 July – Sunday 01 August 2021

Greek Club of Brisbane, Acropolis/Olympus Room on the ground floor

Perth:

Friday 19 November- Sunday 21 November

EVENT SPONSORS:

The Kalymnian Association of NSW

Kytherian Association of Australia

MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS:

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia

Greek City Times

Image Smart

Hellenic Club Sydney

Hellenic Club of Canberra

Greek National Day Council Victoria

Oakleigh Grammar Victoria

The Holy Monastery of St Nectarios

Greek Club Brisbane

Williams Fashion Logistics

For more information or to buy:

For more information go to https://greece2021.com.au/evzones/ or email [email protected]

Own the entire exhibition in a collector’s premium coffee table book:

The Evzones Collection Nick Bourdaniotis Bourdo

www.greece2021.com.au

Buy individual photos here:

www.bourdophotography.com.au

Read also on Greek City Times:

The Evzones Collection By Nick Bourdaniotis 

“The Evzones Collection” raises $15,000 for the Greek School of Canberra