The photos I’m posting today are not mine: the first was taken by Henri Cartier-Bresson, a French photographer, in 1953. The second was taken by Stamatis Grigoropoulos and was his entry in the photo contest organised by Atenistas, a group of volunteers working to make Athens a better place to live (they have their work cut out for them, but that’s another story).
Both photos show the same spot, the front of a small neoclassical house, in downtown Athens (at the corner of Piraeus Avenue and Agion Asomaton street, if I’m not mistaken).
Both are showing real, living women, walking hurriedly, going about their business, in counterpoint to the immobile indifference of the statues on the balcony above them.
I cannot but congratulate both artists for capturing these moments, especially the second, for his deliberate reference to the older black and white photograph.
But I can’t shake the feeling that somehow, the women in the second photograph, despite being younger, look tired and worn, whereas the grannies of the older photo look so energetic and purposeful.
This isn’t the only difference between the two photos. I’ll let you make your own comparisons – I’ll be happy to read your thoughts if you feel like posting them.