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COLLECTION Identifier: PH.BZ.019

Edward Eliopoulos photographs of Mani, Greece

Scope and Contents

The collection comprises 199 photographic prints by Edward Eliopoulos documenting Byzantine churches in Mani, Greece. Eliopoulos produced black and white photographs and color slides during his frequent visits to Mani between 1958 and 1980. Included are 94 black and white photographs and 105 color photographs. (ICFA does not have any of Eliopoulos’s original negatives or any of the original slides from which the color photographs were produced.) The photographs depict 17 churches in Mani, including their architecture, interior wall paintings, some sculptural details, and the surrounding landscape. Eliopoulos photographed sites dating from various historical periods, but the collection materials focus on churches dating roughly to the Middle Byzantine period, from ca. 900-1250.

Dates

  • 1958-1980

Creator

Extent

1 linear feet (93 black and white mounted photographic prints in the Byzantine black and white mounted photograph collection; 1 box of 105 color photographic prints and 1 black and white photographic print)

Biographical / Historical

Edward Eliopoulos was born in 1914. He was a member of the Greek Resistance during the Second World War and fled southwest from the area of Githion, into Mani, the southernmost tip of the Peloponnese. This was his first encounter with the region. Eliopoulos, mostly based in Athens, began photographing the architectural monuments, landscape, and inhabitants of Mani in 1958. He would explore Mani almost every month of the year, spending a whole week each month searching for sites to photograph. His documentation and research culminated in a collaboration with historian Peter Greenhalgh to write a historical and practical guidebook entitled Deep into Mani: Journey to the southern tip of Greece. The goal of the publication was to encourage visitors to witness the rich and varied cultural heritage of the area, much of which had undergone significant deterioration. Together, Eliopoulos and Greenhalgh traveled through Mani in the summer of 1980. Eliopoulos provided his photographs to illustrate the text written by Greenhalgh. They considered Mani to be the most fascinating region of the Peloponnese, possessing historical sites from various time periods under Spartan, Roman, Byzantine, Frankish, Venetian and Ottoman rule, which were relatively understudied. Over the years, Eliopoulos produced over 5,000 images documenting the Mani region, and exhibited selections of his photographs at the University of London, the Archaeological Association of Athens, and the Institut d’Art et d’Archéologie at Paris-Sorbonne University. Eliopoulos inspired his niece, Dora Eliopoulou-Rogan, to write a book entitled Mani: history and monuments, also illustrated with his photographs. Eliopoulos later resided in Dionisos, Greece.

Arrangement

The collection is divided into two (2) series. The first series includes black and white photographic prints that were acquired between 1970 and 1972 and incorporated into the Black and White Mounted Photograph Collection (PH.BZ.001). The second series includes color photographic prints that were acquired in 2004. All images illustrate Byzantine churches in Mani, Greece.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

One hundred and fourteen (114) black and white prints were acquired from Eliopoulos in 1970-1972 by Susan Boyd, former Assistant Curator of the Photograph Collection (now ICFA). However, a selection of the photographs were returned to Eliopoulos due to their poor print quality, leaving a physical count of ninety-three (93) black and white prints that were actually incorporated into the Black and White Mounted Photograph Collection (PH.BZ.001) and one (1) loose print in ICFA’s backlog. Some of the photographs were created on commission. In 1970, the Photograph Collection (now ICFA) at Dumbarton Oaks began its relationship with Eliopoulos by acquiring a selection of Eliopoulos’s black and white photographs that depicted Byzantine architecture and wall painting. Photograph Collection staff also commissioned Eliopoulos to comprehensively photograph particular monuments such as the Church of Hagios Stratigos in Boularioi and the Church of Episkopi. Advancement in printing technology led to a later donation of color photographs in 2004, which documented various Byzantine churches and were printed from Eliopoulos’s personal collection of large format color slides produced between 1958 and 1980. In 2007, Eliopoulos sent an additional donation of photographs to Alice-Mary Talbot, Director of Byzantine Studies at the time. A binder filled with seventy-eight (78) color photographs was received on January 25, 2004; an additional twenty-seven (27) color photographs was received in March 2004. The lack of technology in the 1970s to produce good quality prints from large format color slides led to the thirty year delay of the acquisition of the color prints. A Deed of Gift for the 2004 donation was signed by Eliopoulos and Shelia Klos, Director of the Library (1999-2015).

Processing Information

A preliminary inventory and cataloguing of the color photographs in EmbARK was completed in 2004 by Smiljka Soretic, former Assistant to the Photograph Collection (now ICFA). Upon assessment of the collection by Jessica Cebra, ICFA Departmental Assistant, in November 2014, the majority of the photographs were found housed in plastic sleeves and stored in a red binder. An additional folder of loose photographs was also included in the binder. Cebra located an additional 93 black and white photographs by Eliopoulos in the Black and white mounted photograph collection (PH.BZ.001), as well as 1 loose photograph in ICFA’s backlog. Since all of the Eliopoulos photographs depicted churches in Mani, Greece, Cebra compiled a comprehensive site list for both the color and black and white photographs to reflect the larger body of Eliopoulos’s work. Cebra created two (2) series to separate the black and white photographs, which were an earlier acquisition in the 1970s, from the color photographs acquired in 2004. The color photographs were grouped and arranged alphabetically by location and by church name, and then re-housed in one box.
Title
Eliopoulos, Edward. Edward Eliopoulos photographs of Mani, Greece
Author
Dumbarton Oaks
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
EAD ID
dca00021

Repository Details

Part of the Dumbarton Oaks Repository

With more than a million unique and historical items, archival collections in ICFA represent the three areas of study supported by Dumbarton Oaks: Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, and Garden and Landscape. Collections are generally comprised of administrative records, fieldwork papers, photographic prints, negatives, slides, oversize drawings, and moving images. Appointments are available Monday to Friday from 9:30am-12pm and 1-4:40pm (excpet Federal Holidays).

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