Entry Title: "Park of souls"
Name: Gregoris Mentzas , Greece
Category and Expertise: Deeper Perspective, Non-Professional
Entry Description: My inspiration for this series was the work of photographer Michael Kenna and his images of the Moai statues at Easter Island.
Story: At the mountain of Parnitha, just 30 kilometres from the centre of Athens Greece, among burnt tree trunks and a nature struggling to recover from an extensive damage after a wildfire back in 2007, there is a park different from others. No swings or seesaws, no slides or children's voices.
This park is not for playing; it's about reminiscence and remembrance.
It is an outdoor exhibition featuring twenty sculptures carved from burnt logs of the 2007 wildfire. The exhibition opened on October 2012 just opposite an abandoned hotel, a building whose original use was to serve as a sanatorium from 1912 till 1960.
The sanatorium treated people who suffered from the scourge of the era, tuberculosis. Thousands of people were hospitalized there, one of them being the poet Yannis Ritsos who wrote the “Spring Symphony" when he was confined in the sanatorium. The building was turned into a hotel around 1960 after the discovery of antibiotics.
The exhibition, aptly entitled “The Park of Souls”, is dedicated to the memory of those who lived and died there and attempts to re-create the feelings of the inmates.
I spent endless hours there, photographing under different weather conditions and selected the long exposure approach in an effort to capture the feelings of loneliness and despair that emanate from the place.
My inspiration for this series was the work of photographer Michael Kenna and his images of the Moai statues at Easter Island.