Papaoiannou Archive

It was with great pleasure that I responded to the request of the Museum of Photography Thessaloniki to give part of my photography collection of Thessaloniki and Macedonia of the early 20th century, in order to have them digitized. The purpose of this digitization is the preservation and the collection of all the photographs of the period; this is every collector’s dream and subsequently mine also.

The material which I granted includes 729 photographs of our city and of other cities and towns of Macedonia, which were taken by the official photographers of the Armee d’Orient and by military men of the allied forces who were seated here in the region during the First World War.

The photographs are black and white and of different sizes. The photographers-professionals and amateurs- depict the monuments of the city, roman, byzantine and ottoman, public and private buildings, such as banks, mansions, hospitals as well as streets, neighborhoods and every day life citizens in their traditional oriental dresses.

Accordingly, when out in the countryside their interest focuses on rural landscapes and on farmers, having as background their houses or typical aspects of their private spaces. Through these pictures the photographers themselves are revealed. By studying their photographs one understands their effort to discover, reflect, record and convey to their own land the experiences from the region where they were caught in the turbulence of war.

These photographs in reality are part of a puzzle. Small pieces which have become precious elements for composing our historical past through the love and interest of the researcher. In this manner the long lasting and patient work and research of the collector-lover of the old and worn-out, yet always so alive and charming will be justified.

Angelos Papaioannou

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