With tenderness but without sentimentality Antonio Antonopoulos explores the shattered world of Spiros Simeou who in February 2009 suffered a massive, life-changing stroke.
Antonio recounts the journey that Spiros and his family have taken together to recover something of the life he once had, precious but now undeniably altered. This journey is not easy and requires time and devotion from both patient and carers. The series of photographs in this book highlights the struggle, the pain but also the love that such a journey requires.
Antonio, the photographer and filmmaker, is looking for the whole man and not just at the consequences of a stroke. He wants to tell Spiros’ story: how he lived, what was important in his life and also his connection to culture and place as something that remains constant. The narrative travels backward and forward in time, in search of links between “then” and “now,” underscoring the continuity of life but maybe also looking for a sense of order and familiarity in the chaotic new world that Spiros inhabits. Using many visual associations, repetitions and short sequences to tell the story, this work is crafted like a film in stills. Spiros is depicted surrounded then as now by religious icons, the one time fixer of motorcycles, now in need of help himself. Indeed, Antonio finds other metaphors on his travels, for example, the coach graveyard that appears to have a transient existence itself, the huge, redundant vehicles lying like giant beasts as the sun sets, where we too are reminded of our own mortality. These asides are woven into the story because it is also Antonio’s story, his journey to record too. These people are his friends and the people he loves. As such, he is an intimate photographer with contact at even the most difficult times and with a vested interest in both how the story is told and its outcome.
Senior Lecturer in Photography, Sir John Cass School of Art, Media and Design, LMU.