Nikos Oikonomopoulos - Photographer
THE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE BALKANS
Nikos Oikonomopoulos was born in Kalamata in 1953. He studied law in Parma, Italy and worked as a journalist in various magazines. In 1977, as a practicing lawyer in Preveza, a book of photographs by the photographer and founding member of MAGNUM, Henri Cartier-Bresson, fell in his hands, which opened to him the way to photography. He learned photography by buying and studying great photographers' photo albums, but his main influence was Josef Koudelka. At some time they meet, he criticizes him for his photos and urges him to continue. He began to pursue amateur photography from 1979 to 1988, when he resigned from the newspaper where he worked. Then, he travels and photographs in Greece and Turkey.
In 1990, after a suggestion made by Konstantinos Manos, he was elected as a tentative member of MAGNUM and his photos were published in newspapers and magazines around the world. In 1992, he was awarded the "Mother Jones Award", while in 1994 he was voted a permanent member of MAGNUM and completed his work in the Balkans. At this point we should note that Nikos Oikonomopoulos is the only photographer in Greece who has become a member of MAGNUM. He is also photographing the gypsies in our country in the framework of a Pan-European Program commissioned by the French Charity Federation "Federation Internationale des petits freres des Pauvres" - ("International Federation of Poor Brothers"). In 1995, he published his work on the Balkans, in New York, in the book "In the Balkans", and in Greece entitled "The Balkans". In the same year, he was called by Dei (energy company) to photograph Greek lignite miners, and for this reason traveled to the mines of Megalopolis and Ptolemais. This work was published and is the first systematic photography of Greek Labour. In 1997-1998, he photographed green-line residents in Cyprus, illegal immigrants on the Greek-Albanian border and young people in Japan. In 1999-2000, he covers the massive Albanian fleeing from Kosovo and also photographs the Czech Republic, France, Scotland and Constantinople.
In 2000, he completed his work on a book for which he photographed about 70 storytellers / fairy tale tellers in 25 Aegean islands. Later, continuing his journey to the Balkans, he released the album entitled "Apo michanis choros", with pictures of festivals, dances and music. In 2001, the album entitled "For the Children" is released, with photos from his previous travels. In the same year, he received the Abdi Ipekci Award for his photographs in Turkey and the Greek-Turkish friendship.
In recent years, Nikos Oikonomopoulos continued his photography travels, and his work includes color photography, especially in workshops during which he teaches around the world. His photographs have been published in newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times, The Independent, El Pais, Le Monde, Liberation, The Guardian, The Observer and more.