Relative Dating

“Relative Dating” (2007-2017) is an autobiographical visual essay concerned with concepts of cultural and social traditions in my native Greece. Using photography, I examine the transformation of personal identity on my family’s home island of Kefalonia. It is the attempt to travel in time and awaken memories in order to generate a chain reaction of realizations toward my own free will.

As a child, I spent long periods of time on Kefalonia Island, which belongs to one of the most active earthquake zones in Greece. On August 12th,1953, life on the island changed completely when a 7.2 Richter earthquake struck the area. The Vlahata village, where many of my ancestors were born, suffered total damage and remains abandoned in forests of ancient olive trees. Here, time loses its absolute dimension and the ground loses its certainty.

I began photographing in Vlahata and the surrounding mountainous area in 2006 as a means of reconnecting with my childhood. As the social landscape of Greece changed with the economic crisis of 2013, Vlahata became an intimate arena to explore feelings related to my personal and family history. I practice with self-improvisation, installation and the documentation of my relatives with a desire to create reflections of my own observations and experiences. Through this process I began to evaluate inherited beliefs and I started creating a deeper bonding with self.

Relative dating is a term used in geology to determine the placement of a feature, object or happening in time without reference to its absolute age. Terms from the seismic glossary (USGS&WBDG) accompany the images, reflecting the island’s own identity as defined by its tectonic faults. Across the stones, my images reconcile personal and collective consciousness.