A photographic documentary of “Mount Athos” by Konstantinos Kartelias.
Mount Athos is a mountain and peninsula in Macedonia, Greece. A World Heritage Site, it is home to 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries and forms a self-governed monastic state within the sovereignty of the Hellenic Republic. Spiritually, Mount Athos comes under the direct jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople. Today Greeks commonly refer to Mount Athos as the “Holy Mountain. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this peninsula of 390 km² houses some 1,400 monks in 20 Eastern Orthodox monasteries. An autonomous state under Greek sovereignty, entry into the area is strictly controlled and only male residents are allowed to live there and only male visitors allowed.
The Wayfaring Stranger is a photographic documentary of anthropological and sociological content. Through the intimate tales of theMount Athos pilgrims it manages to comment on how men begin their search of god when they find there is no one else to turn to, on how society fails in its attempt to assist these individuals and consequently, how they turn to religion. It also shows the power and the influence that the Greek Orthodox Church has over its members. Through the interviews the fact that religious fanaticism leads to social and religious racism becomes evident. Finally, it presents the reader with a different image of Mount Athos than the one commonly available, revealing its double role as both a centre of Orthodoxy and a rehabilitation centre.
“The Wayfaring Stranger” documentary : Analysis of the photographs
The photographic documentary “The Wayfaring Stranger” focuses on individual cases of Mount Athos pilgrims. It also includes interviews and photographs of monks, each with their own story to tell. The landscape photographs are few and are basically used as representative and as means of defining a particular location. No extensive attention is given to the breathtaking scenery of Mount Athos, since it has already been excessively documented in photographs several times in the past. The photographs included in the “The Wayfaring Stranger” book can be split in two different groups: the portraits and the photographs that attempt to visualize the psyche of the portraits’ subjects.
The way in which they are presented has its significance: the photographs go in pairs that occupy the entirety of each double spread. The portraits are positioned on the left while presented on the right are the photographs that mirror the psyche of the neighboring portrait’s subject. These two photographs, besides referring to the same individual, are matching in terms of design and colour so that they forma composition that can stand well on its own.
This book is dedicated to all those who put their faith in me during my peregrination of Mount Athos.
Some pages have been removed, as the people included in the photographs kindly requested for their stories and pictures to remain unpublished. All images in this book are copyrighted by Konstantinos Kartelias.
Written by Konstantinos Kartelias, translated by Dimitris Stamatiou
“This book is not about god. It is not about religion. This book is not about me and it is not about you.
It is for those whose life upon this earth darkened, and who now seek the light amidst the cloudy night sky.”