Niko J. Kallianiotis
Niko J. Kallianiotis is an educator and photographer based in Athens and the United States. His formative years were spent in Greece, but for all of his adulthood he lived and worked in the United States. Because of his hybrid background, he views the world and his surrounding environs from two different perspectives, both culturally and socially. His photography and research aim to comment on this cultural and social dichotomy, a universal motif among immigrant populations while simultaneously strives to explore the histories, values and psychologies of the social landscape of the places he resides or calls home.
Niko started his career as a newspaper photographer, first as a freelancer at The Times Leader, in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and then as a staff photographer for Gannett Newspapers in Ohio, The Watertown Daily Times in Watertown, New York, and is a contributor for The New York Times. He has taught at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Marywood University and the University of Scranton. He is also the Co-Founder of the Rust Belt Biennial.
Niko J. Kallianiotis
I grew up in Athens but for the last twenty-plus years I lived and worked in the United States. The decision to leave Greece was predominantly influenced by family matters and not a personal choice. This experience resulted in a form of alienation. Editorial photography became the instrument to understand America by inquiring while on newspaper assignments, exposing me to different facades of the country. This experience worked as the medicine against this feeling of alienation; an escape from the dichotomy of having two homes, that evidently became both a curse and an inspiration. My project and first monograph America in a Trance, Damiani, 2018 was an exploration about the state of Pennsylvania, about leaving my home in Athens but simultaneously its social and cultural condition.
If America in a Trance was about my departure from Athens the photographs from my ongoing project in Athens are about coming home. When I left the city in 1998 the city was a completely different place both socially, culturally, and economically, but also in terms of its appearance and topography. Many things have changed but despite these transformations, the city still maintains its distinct but ever-changing physiognomy. Through my photographs in this ongoing project I aim to document daily life as it unfolds on the Athenian streets but also in the surrounding territories in the municipality of Attica. My lens in these photographs is both a window and a mirror that attempts to understand, relate and transfer the experience of the city by personal inquiry while striving to create a more universal view that is more open-ended. I perceive the images to be a visual anthology and a serenade for those in search of home whether they are expatriates or natives; they are about me but at the same time they could be about you.