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Open Seminar: The Uses of Photography in Northern Greece and the Southern Balkans (1903-1918)
Open Seminar: The Uses of Photography in Northern Greece and the Southern Balkans (1903-1918)
30.08.2018 19.00 h
Greek Centre Melbourne (Mezzanine) - Melbourne


Lecturer: Elizabeth Gertsakis


The uses of photography in the construction of political and national identities in the Southern Balkans and Macedonia 1903-16 is a continuation of a life of research into visual and photographic material from predominantly western culture through the discipline of art history and through the genres of photographic history and theory.

It is a private motivation that has led me to this research, one which stemmed from the diasporic immigrant’s slimmest yet most potent resource, their family photographs. I have a particular interest in photographs taken during this period in the northern region of Greece during the period of early insurrection and revolution in reaction to Ottoman rule and the first world war; both internally, and also that which was created by outside observers.  I focus on comparing the photographies of late nineteenth century wars to the imageries of the ‘Macedonian Question’ and the demand that was created for their global visual consumption. I argue that photography itself was used to create new identities which continue to make use of photographic imagery, as forensic memory, today, as part of national and state identity.


Born in Greece, Elizabeth Gertsakis immigrated with her parents to Australia at age 3 months. Educated at the University of Melbourne and at Monash University, Elizabeth holds an Honour’s degrees in Fine Arts, English Literature, and Master’s in comparative Critical Theory. She commenced her practice as a visual artist in 1986, was a lecturer in Art History and Australian Cultural Studies from 1976 to 1993 and then commenced to work as a curator for various Australian museum and galleries from 1995-2011. She was senior curator of the Australia Post National Philatelic Art and Design Collection from 1995 – 2010.

Her art work is held in Australian public collections as well as in Europe and America. Elizabeth Gertsakis has produced 17 solo exhibitions and was represented in 20 group exhibitions.  Her art practice looks at the use of mass production technologies in popular and mass culture (print, photography, text) in social, political and cultural contexts in which copy and comparison play critical and communication roles. Her work engages with the personal and social impact on the daily lives of women in culture and public institutions.

Her current Doctoral research (University of Melbourne) Department of History and Philosophy), focuses on the uses of photography in the Southern Balkans & Northern Greece from 1903-1916.


We thank the following donor for making this seminar possible: Dimitrios Kalodimos.

During the course of the year considerable expenses are incurred in staging the seminars. In order to mitigate these costs individuals or organisations are invited to donate against a lecture of their choice.

You too can donate for one or more seminars and (optionally) let your name or brand be known as a patron of culture to our members, visitors and followers, as well as the broader artistic and cultural community of Melbourne.  Please email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or call 03 9662 2722.

We also like to thank the following corporate sponsors for their support:

2018 seminars sponsors


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