The Mitos Project started in 2019 and is an ongoing ethnographic tribute that focuses on local costumes throughout Greece. The thread takes on symbolic dimensions and seeks to highlight popular culture and folk art seen in a contemporary context. The natural and cultural environment is the background that is associated with the “costumes” while the protagonists are always the people.
Through this project, it is claimed the promotion of the beauty of the Greek folk culture that concerns both the simplicity and the splendor of the form of clothing as a central theme. The content has a multitude of meanings and is related to the social, historical, economic, and cultural context, to networks of relationships, to struggles, and the construction of identities. In addition, natural space and architecture are dominant elements in the image.
The peculiarity of this photographic work lies in its modern view, through the people who have kept their clothes as heirlooms and pass them on to the next generation while using them on customary and festive occasions spontaneously, updating the mechanisms of tradition as a process.
A thread that binds us with our roots!
The Mitos Project is characteristic of my identity as a photographer, it incorporates specific aesthetic forms with the topics that interest me. It is almost idealistic and tends to idealize the faces, it is often compared to “iconography”, however for me it is just an attempt to capture a “truth” that I see exists at the time of photography. Creating only with natural light and with unpretentious faces, I resist the “impressively artificially made spectacle” of fashion that ultimately is an illusion while this condition tends to replace real life. This art does not fit into narrow boundaries and defined types but breathes in the intermediate space “in between and betwixt” while its dynamic is liquidity.
The people who still wear the local costumes are the subject of Mitos which deals with Greek folk art and the particular ethno-scapes. The thread that I “hold”, therefore, takes me on a journey through space and time. The thread unites the stories and experiences of people while at the same time claiming visibility for these stories to be heard by a wider audience. Mitos in a wider perspective is not just a photography work but also a storytelling one.
Clothes / fashion, casual or festive, wedding dresses, are an integral part of the self and the body while suggesting a system of values and containing overt or covert cultural codes. The journey of “Mitos”, therefore, concerns the concept of physicality, the body as the means by which we perceive and understand the world, we exist and we feel, we think and we act. All of these cultural elements emerge on the basis of humanitarian values, the antithesis of nationalism, highlighting multicultural osmosis as a creative process. This process is extremely dynamic and fluid while it has great executive power while at the same time the viewer maintains a “free relationship” with the artwork. I believe that the power of art together with the power of storytelling enables a substantial – between the old, the new, the “meta” dialogue of all human beings, without discrimination, without stereotypes, without social exclusions and controversies, bridging gaps and seeking to combat racism and pathogenesis. The importance of public dialogue that begins on the occasion of photography, concerns the formation of perceptions, attitudes and change of mentality in a more positive direction.
Ici, ce n’est pas le costume qui fait la femme, c’est la femme qui sait le costume. Nikos Aliagas.
“Mitos, the ongoing series by Greek photographer Michael Pappas, is a compelling ethnographic tribute to the time-honored of his homeland” THE INDEPENDENT PHOTOGRAPHER
“The medium-format portraits depict Michael Pappas’ compatriots adorned in traditional garb and set against a diversity of eye-catching backdrops. Invariably characterized by rich colors, textures, and dexterous use of light, they possess a painting-like quality that befits the socio-historical subject matter and arrests and intrigues with striking immediacy.” GREEK CITY TIMES