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Choosing the right photo for the front cover of a great book!

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

The cover photo of the book "Contested Antiquity"
Contested Antiquity, the front cover


"Contested Antiquity. Archaeological Heritage and Social Conflict in Modern Greece and Cyprus", edited by Ester Solomon. Out on 2 February 2021 by Indiana University Press.

With a great team of contributors: Dimitris Plantzos, Niki Sakka, Alexandra Bounia, Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert, Paulina Nikolaou, Marlen Mouliou, Styliana Galiniki, Katerina Konstantinou, Aris Anagnostopoulos, Andromache Gazi, Lena Stefanou, Ioanna Antoniadou, Eleana Yalouri and Elpida Rikou.

Front cover photo by Dimitris Giovis.

The front cover photo:

What a great joy and honor to see one of my photos on the front cover of this great book! I love taking photos of antiquities, archaeological sites, and monuments. It`s always fascinating to observe the contrast with the modern landscape. Layers of time, symbols, and notions traveling through history and personal stories.

Statues. Contested antiquity.
Photos from my archive

So, when the editor Esther Solomon asked me if had any photo that could fit with the content of this book I began searching in my archives. First, for practical publishing and aesthetic reasons, it had to be a portrait/vertical format image, in order to fit the book design and physical dimensions. Secondly, it had to have enough "white" space, meaning space free from visual elements in order to incorporate the graphic parts of the title and the editor`s name. Finally, we ended up with this photo, which I think it reflects perfectly the title and the theme of the book. The photo was taken on a foggy day during the reconstruction of the seaside of the town of Thessaloniki. The whole area around the monument of the White Tower became a huge construction site for a long period and only this enormous statue of Alexander the Great on horseback was standing still in its place, endlessly galloping through the mist of the times.

Constructing, reconstructing, contesting. Perspective, angle of view, and scale, not only in strict photographic terms but also through the psychological and historical aspects of identity, heritage and memory. We can detect three consecutive visual and symbolic levels in the field of view of the scene: the fence door on the front part of the photo (separation, confines, boundaries), the excavator in the center (change, re-think, re-organise) and the dominant statue at the background (a powerful symbol charged with meanings around history and heritage). The whole scene is breathing calmly under the soft diffused light of the surrounding fog (fog: cover, hide/reveal, blur/sharp, clear...).

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