Greek-Australian photographer Effy Alexakis is set to deliver a floor talk on her exhibition “Viewfinder”, a collection that encompasses her 40-year career capturing and researching the Greek-Australian experience.

Ms Alexakis will deliver the floor-talk at the Hellenic Museum on Thursday, January 25 at 11am, delving into the 40-image exhibition which first launched in early November last year.

The photographer explained that this was an idea first conceived by her and husband Leonard Janiszewski (history academic at Macquarie University) in 2022 when they celebrated 40 years of researching and photographing the Greek-Australian historical and contemporary experience.

“We have amassed a significant archive, published books and journal articles, toured exhibitions nationally and overseas, as well as having been involved with the creation of films and theatre productions,” Ms Alexakis told Neos Kosmos.

“So, it was time to look back and to assess our work, as well as looking forward to the next stage of our journey.”

Ms Alexakis and Dr Janiszewski reassembled their 2022 book and exhibition “Effy Alexakis: Forty Photographs, A Year at A Time” into this new collection focussing on four important thematic areas of their research and photography.

These are Greek-Australian history (In Their Own Image: Greek-Australians); return migration, settlement and identity (Images of Home: Mavri Xenitia); hybridised identities (Binding Threads) and philanthropy (The Heart of Giving: Father Nektarios’ Soup Kitchen).

It was at that point they were introduced to Sarah Craig, CEO and Head of Curation of the Hellenic Museum by academic Dr Andonis Piperoglou, who loved their pitch for this display.

A visitor recognises a relative in the photograph on display.

“Together with Sarah and her staff we developed a fully professional exhibition, stylistically designed, and utilising digital technology (QR codes rather than physical extended caption panels for each photograph) that allowed the aesthetic elements of my photography to fit well in the space,” she said.

The exhibition has been well-received and been extended to March 24, with the success prompting Ms Alexakis to approach Ms Craig with the idea of holding this floor talk.

“Leonard and I will guide attendees (usually a small group) through the exhibition space providing personal insights into the photographs and related stories and themes of each section, highlighting the significance of the photographs used,” she told Neos Kosmos.

The photographer explained her excitement at seeing people recognise similarities from their own personal family stories in the photos and understand that they too are part of the bigger and ever-expanding panorama of the Greek-Australian experience and of the Greek diaspora.

“As Leonard and I guide people through each image and related stories, we hope that the interaction will ignite numerous questions and personal anecdotes which will then further cement their relationship to the lived experiences and histories of those Greek-Australians depicted in the images,” Ms Alexakis said.

While there is plenty to appreciate in the exhibition for Australians of Hellenic background, the photographer did stress her hope that people of all backgrounds can appreciate the collection.

She raised that a key aspect of the display is showcasing the historical relationships between Greeks and all with whom they have come into contact in Australia, from First Nations people through to other migrant-settler groups.

“Getting this understanding across to a broad audience is one of our long-time driving forces. The exhibition emphasises this – that Greek-Australian history is broadly important. It is part of the history of Australia’s people,” the Sydney-based photographer said.

The floor talk will also allow Ms Alexakis to contextualise the photos, explaining who the subjects are, what is significant about their lives, their lived environment, their hopes, dreams, successes and failures etc.

“I want the photos to reveal not just the faces of people, but the context of their lives,” she said.

“I hope that people take away with them that my documentary photography is not a quick snap, but a process that is a relationship driven over time. Talking about how I undertake my photography has consistently been of fascination to audiences, which is both humbling and pleasing.”

The event is free for all but RSVP is essential and can be done so here.