Bittersweet Apple // Niko J. Kallianiotis
Niko J. Kallianiotis is an educator and photographer based in Scranton, Pennsylvania. His formative years were spent in Greece, but for all of his adulthood he lived in the United States. Because of his hybrid background he views the world and his surrounding environs from two different perspectives, both culturally and socially. With photography he is attempting to comment on his cultural dichotomy and simultaneously reflect on the social landscape of the communities and cities he has lived. He is currently teaching at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Marywood University in Scranton, Pa, and he is a contributing photographer for The New York Times.
“For Bittersweet Apple I spent two years investigating the Greek-American Diaspora in Astoria, New York. This is a diverse setting that was once the center of Hellenism in North America. As a youngster, I resented being in Astoria and during my first visit twenty-five-years ago, I often tried to find ways to escape and move back to Greece. Everything seemed foreign to me, even the people who shared my own heritage. I felt a powerful sense of disconnection, and an unspecified sense of anger. I missed my friends, my extended family, my neighborhood in Athens, everything. What I expected to be familiar during my first visit to the States was actually quite unfamiliar, regardless of the reminders of Greek culture that the area offered. That environment, its diversity, even the faces I encountered in the community, only added to my sense of alienation. There were Greeks here, but they were not “my” Greeks. The images from this project reflect a fresh encounter with what survives of the Greek culture in Astoria, explores the symbols and cultural traditions, and the mingling of memories and an evolved perspective.”
website: Niko J. Kallianiotis
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