A Book Release for Spectators. Photographs by Ilias Bourgiotis. 
Text by George Vecsey

Author: Photographs by Ilias Bourgiotis. Essay by George Vecsey
Publisher: Greekworks.com
Date of Publication: April 2006
Language: English
ISBN: 0-9747660-5-4
Description: 89 (84 pages of photographs), 12-1/2 x 9-1/2, hardcover
Availability: Greekworks.com

Book Release

greekworks.com is proud to announce the publication, on March 31, 2006, of Spectators. This collection of photographs by Ilias Bourgiotis, his first to be published in the United States, is accompanied by a perceptive and moving essay, “Modern Pilgrims”—written especially for this volume by the renowned journalist George Vecsey—which is both agenerous reconsideration of the 2004 Athens Olympics and a rare homage to Greece.

As George Vecsey so astutely notes in Spectators, the Olympic Games have become a “holy ritual” the Olympic Games have become a “holy ritual” of the modern world, and the spectators who voyage to them, both in winter and summer, have been transformed into “latter-day pilgrims” who “have much in common with the resourceful seekers who once made their way to temples in Delphi or Crete.” It is only appropriate, then, that Ilias Bourgiotis should have focused his camera on them and on their pilgrimage to the Athens games of 2004, which were doubly invested with ritual resonance, as they marked the “return” of the Olympics to the land of their ancient birth.

What is most astounding, and truthful, about Bourgiotis’s photos is their philosophical wisdom. Bourgiotis understands that there are few chasms in contemporary life as deep, and unbridgeable, as that between athlete and fan. Society today divides, unevenly and accidentally, between that tiny elite whose bodies are unapproachably sounder than most and the vast majority of men and women for whom physical distinction can only be a vicarious excellence.

And so, that vast majority—the rest of us—stays on the sidelines, watching. Yet, as Ilias Bourgiotis’s Spectators shows, these “passive” observers are anything but. And they can be almost as exhilarated, or inconsolable, or poignant, as the young men and women who actually win or lose, and are the objects of the loyal aff ections of everyone gazing from the stadium seats.

About the photographer

Ilias Bourgiotis’s work has been exhibited in his native Greece, throughout Europe, and in the United States. His major photographic cycles have been published in several books, including, most prominently, Atheatê Ellada (Unseen Greece), Neoriôn—Naupêgeia Syrou (Neoriôn: Shipyards of Syros), and Eurôpaikos Notos (European South). His European South series was also the subject of two solo exhibitions in 2004 at the annual Photographic Month in Bratislava and at the Museo della Città di Collegno in Turin. Spectators is his first collection published in the United States.

About the author

George Vecsey has been writing about sport for well over forty years, more than twenty of them as a columnist for

(Posting date 23 May 2006 )

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