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ALEXANDROS PANAGIOTOU (Greece, Alexandroupolis 1888-1956 / act: Alexandroupolis)

Alexandros Panagiotou Alexandros Panagiotou studied painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts under Georgios Iakovidis. In 1908 he went back to his homeland, Alexandroupolis, where he founded the city's first photographic studio. In 1914 he settled in Thessaloniki, running a studio near the White Tower, and in 1917 he took photographs of the city's great fire. After the end of the First World War, in 1919, he returned to Alexandroupolis and documented the Greek army occupying the city on 14 May 1920 (it was then that Dedeagats was re-named Alexandroupoli, in honor of King Alexander).

Alexandros Pangiotou taught the art of photography to his nephew Spyros Melentzis (with a mutual origin in Imbros Island). Apart from being a professional portraitist, Panagiotou was a 'photo-historian' of his native city. From 1908 to 1940 (in the period 1940-1945 he moved his family to Limnos Island to escape the Bulgarian occupation) he systematically photographed all of the main events, the buildings, the social affairs, and the people of the city wherein he lived. He was a photoreporter, who worked for himself, since he never published his photographs, which he saw compositionally with the painter's eye. Owing to Panagiotou, Alexandroupolis is one of few Greek cities, whose course in history is so fully documented. When in 1953 his son George retired from military service he inherited the studio and operated it till 1997.

Alexandros Panagiotou died of cancer on 8 February 1956 in a hospital of Athens.

[Megakles Rogakos 08/2006]

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
XANTHAKIS, ALKIS X. History of Greek Photography 1839-1960 1994 Kastaniotis Editions, Athens, p. 153-154 [Greek]
PANAGIOTOU, GEORGE A. The Port of Alexandroupolis - Crossroad of the Thracian Sea 2007 Alexandroupolis Port Authority, Alexandroupolis [Greek]
XANTHAKIS, ALKIS X. History of Greek Photography 1839-1970 2008 Papyros Publishing Company, Athens, p.313-115 [Greek]

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