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STEFANOS STOURNARAS (Greece 1867-1928 / act: Volos and Athens)

Stefanos Stournaras Stefanos Stournaras together with his brother Panayiotis served as "Photographers of the Regent's Court" and formed one of the best-known photographic studios in Volos, central Greece, still preserved today. Stefanos studied painting and hagiography in the Athens School of Fine Arts under Nikiforos Lytras. He settled permanently in Volos since 1889. Combining painting with photography, he held a studio at Ermou Street. As a photographer Stefanos Stournaras stood out for his artistic capability and his prolific work. His great collection of photographs covers all the historical events of the first quarter of the twentieth century. Aside of his studio photographs, he engaged systematically with the representation of landscape. Especially in the form of landscape photography Stournaras - with his knowledge of painting - created a tradition, which has been established and is still valid today. In the first five years of the century he initiated the production of color lithograph cards representing landscapes of Thessaly. Following the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, he completed his collection with landscapes of Agion Oros, Asia Minor, Epirus, Thrace, Macedonia, and Magnesia. His photographic work was continued by his sons Costas and Nikos. The over-than-100-year family tradition in photography is continued today by namesake grandson of Stefanos Stournaras.

All the photographs to date by Stournaras in the ACG Art Collection concern studio portraits, made evidently in artificial light by gas. In his studio Stournaras composed significant artistic photographs, which eloquently record the local middle class society of Volos. The 'bourgeoisie' had a fascination with photography, especially as in this period photographs confirmed its predominance in relation to the other social strata, while this art form appealed to its narcissism. Stournaras' photographic portraits are an inavlauable testimony, which illustrates sufficiently the physiognomy of the middle class in Greek society in the beginning of the twentieth century. They are characterized by the subject's clarity and the composition's strength. Stournaras is an excellent craftsman, who represents masterfully on photographic paper the portrait of his contemporary society. The naturalness by which Stournaras' models are represented may be owed to the photographer's personality, which demonstrates he inspired his subjects with confidence.

[Megakles 08/2006]

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
XANTHAKIS, ALKIS X. Stefanos Stournaras: A Dynasty of Photographers 1994 Opticon #21, p.38-43
Stefanos Stournaras 1867-1928: The Saint of Photography 1999 Archipelagos Editions, Athens
ELEFTHERIOU, MANOS & XANTHAKIS, ALKIS Stefanos Stournaras: The Saint of Photography / Nikos Anagnostakis Collection 2007 Archipelagos Editions, Athens

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