Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Veteran war photographer Kostas Balafas, renowned for his photographic coverage of the Second World War and the resistance in Greece, died on Sunday (October 9) at the age of 91. Balafas was born in 1920 in the mountain village of Kipseli in Epirus prefecture. At the age of 11 he moved  to Athens, where he had his first contact with photography and a camera.

In 1942, he enlisted in the 85th Regiment of E.L.A.S (Greek People’s Liberation Army) and recorded on camera the struggle of the people of Epirus against the Nazi and Italian occupation armies, well aware that he was recording historical moments for future generations.

Using film stock that fell from the sky literally -as it fell off from an Italian bomber- he recorded, the Greek army's advance on the Albanian front, the German occupation in Greece, the marches and battles of the resistance fighters, the Civil War, destroyed villages, mourning mothers, as well as celebrations during the liberation of Ioannina.

All this material remained hidden for 31 years under the wooden floor of a house in Ioannina.

In 1991, the photographer himself edited and published the book Kostas Balafas. Antartiko – Guerrilla Warfare in Epirus, Black-and-white photographs 1940-1944. Balafas was one of the leading Greek exponents of humanist photography in the post-war period.

The part of his oeuvre dedicated to ordinary working-class people and, particularly, to the inhabitants of isolated villages in Epirus, has been repeatedly publicized over the past 20 years through several exhibitions and publications.

Greek News Agenda: A tribute to Greek Resistance

ERT Digital Archive: Kostas Balafas- The story of my Life; You Tube: Kostas Balafas [VIDEO]