Drug addicts

These photos represent the descent into hell of the economic crisis in the centre of Athens.

Drugs, robberies, prostitution are on the rise, with a daily manhunt by the police.

Greece is dangerously winning the first place in drug use amongst the countries of Europe.

Drug addicts “talking” with death. Images cruel but true from the bottom of the well of a modern society that lives without the illusion of managing to get out of crisis without help.

“It all started from an internal struggle with myself, like a petty gamble that you play in the evening, when you’re assessing how your day went. A struggle due to a debt carried by oneself for years, without knowing.

The news outlets slowly started to look into the situation on the streets of downtown Athens, and so all these things that you saw from inside the bus windows, and you thought would never happen in your town because you’re protected by God, family, destiny, history, and tradition; which you though could happen only in movies – and Hollywood movies at that – is now unfolding right in front of you, in flesh and blood, and is unravelling the fragile social fabric.

I grew up in a family whose utmost fear was that someone would put something in my drink. And so when I started going out, when a stranger happened to glance at my drink, my alarm went off. And now that I am over it, and it is safely stored in the vault, I remember it every now and then just enough to make my buddies laugh. How silly and naive was my generation growing up; and then the pills came, followed by the hard drugs, and every year things got more and more complicated.

I lost good friends, good kids, not because the dead are vindicated, but because they were good kids (no doublt about that) who may have had a few more insecurities and concerns, a tad more “why’s”, and maybe less fortitude.

My childhood friend, Sakis, gambled and lost, when he was 31. My younger cousin, Lefteris, wasn’t even 17 – and I never had a chance to get to know him well. And so many others… It was the circle of my adolescence that gave me the impetus to focus the lens onto the “fairytale”, and hit the streets. I wanted to find it hard, real hard core, because for me death is not hard – as death is always there, waiting for the oil in our candle to run it so he can wisper to us goodnight.

It is hard to lose a life, to stop breathing. It is hard to be already dead, and to believe that you’re alive and that the end is deliverance. This journey is tough, and I faced it with my camera as my shield, fending for me during my daily interactions in the alleys and joints. I didn’t want a zoom lens, I did not desire distance; I wanted to be in there, in between; I needed a lens with a wide field of view, that would not distort the image but instead insert itself like a precision tool; that would touch, smell, listen; I wanted……..”

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