By Nikos Markou
Nikos Markou’s aesthetic – black-and-white film, shot with available light, stark yet intimate – is the perfect complement to the space of the Gasworks and those who work there. Unlike the Bechers, he goes past the building’s façade to catch glimpses of capitalism’s inner workings: men showering, relaxing, laboring in this plant that looks like it came out of a 1940s prison movie. In fact, Markou took these photographs in 1982–1984 at the Athens Gasworks, right before it ceased its operations, and years before it became the museum it is today. His photographs show the plant in its last iconic gasp.
Markou writes about this series, “What urged me to start working on this project was originally the look of the factory itself which, back then, had a dry unique character. I was interested in getting to know the workers so I started visiting them regularly, watching them work and depicting their lives any way I could. What I experienced throughout this process was definitely much more powerful than what is depicted in the photos, yet I hope that these manage to express, to a certain extent, the hardships that these people had to endure trying to make a living.”
Nikos Markou was born in Athens in 1959. He studied mathematics in Athens. He first entered the photographic scene with the publication of Perama in 1980 while also commencing his professional career in advertising and teaching photography (1985–1998). His interest focuses on the Greek landscape and people, and he has published two photographic monographs (Geometries, 1999, and Cosmos, 2003). He works with magazines, publishing houses, and large-scale export companies, while at the same time his works belong to private and public collections. He lives and works in Athens. Learn more about his work here.