Medphoto Festival is a new initiative in the area of photography in Greece. The first edition will take place in Rethymno, Crete this summer (opening June 6 and running until September) and will host a number of exhibitions, events and workshops that present important works of Greek and foreign photographers.

Another powerful exhibition which will be showing at the festival is the powerfully curated “Crossings,” which will take place in an former bank building in Rethymno’s Old Town.

The exhibition presents the routes of refugees towards and across Europe. The photographs come from the shores of Lesbos, the port of Piraeus, the crossings of immigrants to Africa, war-torn Syria, the Calais Jungle, the settlements in Patra and Idomeni, the smugglers’ hotels in Smyrna and more. The pictures will hang in the old Commercial Bank, an atmospheric location that will mark the relationship between economic forces and the displacement of populations around the world.

Below, we present a few short statements from some of the artists included in the show:

“Migration; always an act of pursuing a better future than the one offered to you, and most often a necessary evil when leaving your war-torn homeland for another country, so as to search for a life in peace. Choosing to live under your own beliefs or love somebody that others may not approve, can also generate a need of leaving “home.” For whatever the reason, the only certainty is that exile, leaving home, will mark your life forever.”

—Socrates Baltagiannis

“Refugees have been arriving in Greece since the beginning of 2000, mainly due to warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq. But what happened this year is unprecedented. According to the UN, about 800,000 refugees have made the crossing from Turkey to Greece. Another 3,700 never made it; they tragically died in the process. The psychological tension due to the mounting influx became an unparalleled experience, one which has burned into my memory.”

—Dimitris Michalakis

“I have documented violence, despair and helplessness with my lens more times than I can possibly remember. But I have honestly never seen anything like that before: terrified and beleaguered people trying to cross the borders, children screaming and crying and families being separated between the two countries. Hell by the border.”

—Giorgos Moutafis


Editors’ Note: The exhibition “Crossings” has been curated by Giorgos Moutafis and Pavlos Fysakis. It will run from June 9 to July 15, as part of the
Medphoto festival.