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Fokion Zissiadis
Fokion Zissiadis
Fokion Zissiadis

Fokion Zissiadis

Country: Greece
Birth: 1956

Fokion Zissiadis was born in Thessaloniki in 1956. He studied architecture at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and went on to do a Masters degree at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia USA, graduating in 1983. His career to date has been in the hotel and tourism sector, continuing the family tradition as a shareholder in the well-known Sani Resort in Halkidiki and Vice President of Sani S.A.

He first took an interest in photography - mainly photographing buildings and urban landscapes - during his years as an architecture student. Later it was nature, on a small or large scale, which became his narrative priority, while he gradually developed more personal, interpretative views of the landscapes he sought to capture. His photography expressed a desire to preserve a wide-angle "view through a personal window" on the world around him. An active man with a passion for the natural world and a love of adventure, he planned journeys to particular destinations where nature reveals the primitive building blocks of which she is made, where the great age of the natural landscape is to be seen, where the visitor is challenged to engage fully and completely with the natural world around him.

His photographic work covers a wide range of geological phenomena and diverse terrains: deserts, glaciers, savannahs, volcanoes, rivers, seas, mountain ranges and uplands. He has visited and photographed locations as varied as Peking, Moscow, New York, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, the capital cities of Europe, Egypt, Patagonia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, the Bahamas, Israel, Cappadocia, Constantinople, Malta, Oman, Qatar, Dubai and, most recently, Iceland.

His photographs use a keen geometrical sense to interpret the quintessence of the landscape with all those features through which the genius loci is expressed. Through his personal photographic idiom, Fokion Zissiadis expresses his own aesthetic sense of moment and place. The dwarfed human figures almost always included in his photographic compositions create a strong sense of the insignificance of man when confronted with the grandeur and majesty of the natural world. On all his photographic journeys he is accompanied by his lifetime partner and advisor - his wife Mata Tsolozidi Zissiadis.

An active man with a passion for the natural world and a love of adventure
"Passion under fate becomes pathos. The Aristotelian adage denotes not only my relationship with the Arctic Line, yet my overall feelings towards the area. Intimate sentiments about the burning issue of climate change become the vehicle for the lens to capture the unfathomable beauty of Greenland. Icebergs that flawlessly exemplify a celebration of random wandering and ceaseless transformation. Water as the ultimate procreator. Time that grows into one's living; life that metamorphoses into one's chronos. At the end, it's all about the Analogue Line.

Nature seems to be on line. And so is myself. Perhaps, it is also a line that connected me to the publishing of my first book on Iceland with teNeues, and now to my fruitful collaboration with Rizzoli Libri and the upcoming printing, in 2020, of a book with my photos on Vietnam."
- Fokion Zissiadis
 

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Otherwise photography would be useless as an artistic medium. -- Herbert List In 1936, in response to the danger of Gestapo attention to his openly gay lifestyle and his Jewish heritage, List left Germany for Paris, where he met George Hoyningen-Huene with whom he travelled to Greece, deciding then to become a photographer. In 1937 he worked in a studio in London and held his first one-man show at Galerie du Chasseur d'Images in Paris. Hoyningen-Huene referred him to Harper's Bazaar magazine, and 1936–39 he worked for Arts et Metiers Graphiques, Verve, Vogue, Photographie, and Life. List was unsatisfied with fashion photography. He turned back to still-life imagery, continuing in his fotografia metafisica style. From 1937 to 1939 List traveled in Greece and took photographs of ancient temples, ruins, sculptures, and the landscape for his book Licht über Hellas. In the meantime he supported himself with work for magazines Neue Linie, Die Dame and for the press from 1940 to 1943, and with portraits which he continued to make until 1950. In List's work the revolutionary tactics of surrealist art and a metaphysical staging of irony and reverie had been honed in on the fashion industry that relied on illusion and spectacle which after World War II returned to a classical fixation on ruins, broken male statuary and antiquity. In 1941, during World War II, he was forced to return to Germany; but because one of his grandparents was Jewish he was not allowed to publish or work professionally. In 1944 he was drafted into the German military, despite being of partly Jewish ancestry. He served in Norway as a map designer. A trip to Paris allowed him to take portraits of Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Christian Bérard, Georges Braque, Jean Arp, Joan Miró, and others. After the war, he photographed the ruins of Munich where he continued to live until 1960, working mainly for the Swiss magazine Du, with freelance photo essays for Heute, Epoca, Look, Harper's Bazaar, Flair, and Picture Post. He was made art editor of Heute magazine, published by the Allied occupying forces, in 1948. In 1951, List met Robert Capa, who invited him to work as a contributor to Magnum, but he rarely accepted assignments. For the next decade he produced copious work in Italy. During this time he also started using a 35 mm film camera and a telephoto lens. He was influenced by his Magnum colleague Henri Cartier-Bresson as well as the Italian neorealist film movement. In the 1950s he also shot portraits of Marino Marini, Paul Bowles, W. H. Auden, and Marlene Dietrich in 1960. Over the period 1949–62 he visited Italy, Greece, Spain, France, Mexico, and the Caribbean. List's 1950 picture of a woman, her black dress spread about her, reclining at a respectable distance from an elderly man reading, with one leg of his trousers rolled above his socks and garter, both enjoying the spring sunshine on the front steps of the Glyptothek in Munich, was selected by curator Edward Steichen for the world-touring Museum of Modern Art exhibition The Family of Man, seen by 9 million visitors. In 1964 List was awarded the David Octavius Hill Prize of the Gesellschaft Deutscher Lichtbildner. Herbert List is best known for his book Junge Männer (1988) which contains more than seventy images of young men lounging in the sun, wrestling and innocently regarding the camera lens. It is introduced by Stephen Spender in whose autobiographical novel The Temple, written in 1929 but not published until 1988, List is fictionalized as Joachim Lenz. List gave up photography in the early 1960s to concentrate on his collection of Italian Old Master Drawings. 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