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Dr. Nikos Vrachnis

Honored to work with personalities like Dr Nikos Vrachnis. The portrait photoshoot took place at his office for Gonimotita magazine.  Nikolaos Vrachnis completed Ob/Gyn training in United Kingdom(UK), 2001. Received postgraduate Certificate in Medical Education, Cardiff University, UK. Completed thesis, \”Inflammation and preterm labor\”, at Athens University Medical School, 2005. Currently works as Assistant Professor, \”Obstetrics-Gynecology and Fetal-Maternal Medicine\”, at same University. Has 35+ publications in peer-reviewed journals; wrote or edited 8 books and 20+ chapters in books; over 200 presentations at national and international meetings. Is in charge of Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics(ALSO) course, Greece, and member of ALSO(UK) and ALSO(USA) Advisory Faculties. Recently developed a hands-on Advanced Life Support in Gynecology(ALSG) course. President of Hellenic Society of Obstetric and Gynecologic Emergency and member of the board of Hellenic Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

 

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People of Spetses talk about Spetses

For the portrait photography published on the tribute in Taxidia Magazine Kathimerini, I have traveled to Spetses Island with the editor Eleftheria Alavanou. Five people from Spetses introduce us to the beautiful island of Argosaronicos from their own point of view.

Artist, 30 years old, studied visual arts in Amsterdam, lives in her great-grandfather's house near Analipsi. In the summer she works at the Baraka gallery, in the winter she is busy with her own artistic work, fishing and walking in nature. Eva Vassiliou is one of the five locals who help us get to know the island of Regatta and Armata through another lens. All of them have seen the Spetses of the four seasons: from the fever of summer to the undisturbed quiet of winter. All of them have a substantial relationship with Spetses, because their lives are connected to the basic materials from which the island is made: the sea, the landscape, history, the people who marked it, art. Everyone, in short, knows them deeply.

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Visual artist Eva Vassiliou studied in Amsterdam and now spends a large part of her time on the island where she grew up.
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The Mermaid, one of Natalia Mela's sculptures, in the old port.

Portrait photography of the tribute includes a selection of different characters that are residents on the Island of Spestes. Grigoris Katsouranis, with more Augustus on his back, but with similar energy, since he is evergreen and energetic like a little kid. Mr. Grigoris is one of the few craftsmen who know the art of shingle in Spetses, a "difficult job", because "you have to sit down for eight hours laying shingles", resulting in pain in the knees, hands and back you. Despite the effort, a craftsman can in eight hours make a 2 m2 pebble, often on a marine theme, such as boats, mermaids, fish, dolphins, octopuses, although there are more strange, as a belfry or a breeches in a fez. To a certain extent, however, there is a recycling of the subject matter in the designs ("we resurrect the old ones"), which probably contributes to the aesthetic harmony, limiting the dissonances. The nice thing about pebbles is that they decorate both the public space and the houses, in other words they express the Spetsian society as a whole, but also the Spetsian landlord. In personal time, when he is not busy with pebbles or other tasks, Mr. Grigoris usually goes to the Cafe to drink evening coffee. Not meraklidiko Greek with cream, as I expected him to tell me, but an iced Fredo espresso. He swims with his wife in Agia Marina, attends church in Analipsi, spends the summers at his home in Kokkinaria and the winters at his house in Dapia.

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Grigoris Katsouranis is one of the most experienced pebble stone craftsmen on the island.

The custodian of another traditional art, which is also identified with Spetses, is Pantelis Korakis, a second generation ship carpenter, who owns one of the island's seven tarsanas, in the old port. Pantelis has spent his entire life in Spetses, with the only break being when he joined the army. He began learning at the age of 10-12 with his father, who represented an older generation of shipwrights who believed that art was not taught, but stolen. "If you caught it, you caught it. That was the mentality of the old ones." Tarsana was named after him 23 years ago. The distance from his house is two minutes by motorbike and his daily working life includes an open-air workshop in front of the sea, with discarded wood, geese coming and going, himself barefoot and behind him a dog without a name, who follows him everywhere, even when he gets inside the boats. People come, his sister makes coffee, his friends show up, drink a beer, leave. The place looks like a coffee shop. "All traditional tarsanas are coffee shops," he tells me. They are also places of hard work, however, since Pantelis repairs and builds wooden scaffolding, using the designs he inherited from his father. It deals with, among others, amateur or professional fishing boats and holiday boats staying in Spetses. "A wooden boat is like a friend. It's not impersonal, a lot of people have worked on it." He himself has a 9-meter trachantiri, "Agia Marina", which he built a few years ago with his own hands.

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Pantelis Korakis, second generation ship carpenter.
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The landscape in the old port is varied, since the tarsanades coexist with galleries, bars, restaurants

Miaranda Markou, I imagine that she loves the sea very much, since he works next to it, by it and for it. But there is a Spetsiotissa who I think loves her more or in a different way. Miranda Markou is thirteen and a half years old, a 2nd High School student. As a child, he used to go swimming at Scholes beach, below the Nautiko Omilo, and he would watch the boats dock. "I liked it all and decided to start sailing." She was not six years old, but she was drawn to the sea and the freedom of the sport. Started with bug, moved to optimist and now has a laser. Listening to her talk about the positives of the laser as a boat, her desire to go to Piraeus to see the Olympiakos sailing academy, and that she has heard very good things about the Aegina club, I think how much of a… vitamin that is for a teenager dealing with the sea in winter and summer and not with the computer, how firmly the character and self-confidence are built when he learns to command a boat from a young age. And above all, how nice it is to be thirteen and a half years old, to live on a small Greek island, to live in the middle of nowhere, in the city, but outside of Dapia, and your means of transportation to school, friends and your group is by electric skate, on foot or on your parents' motorbike.

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Η Μιράντα Μάρκου ασχολείται με την ιστιοπλοΐα εδώ και επτά χρόνια.

In the portrait photographs except the people, one can see the diversity of the Island. Spetses, however, is identified with another captain, older, a woman who far exceeded the limitations imposed by society on her gender, after becoming "the first female admiral in world naval history", as Pavlos Demertzis-Boumboulis tells us for Laskarina Bouboulina, great-grandmother of his great-grandfather. Pavlos is 33 years old, a modern man, without a dress or tsarouchia, but who carries a heavy, distant and at the same time familiar name. A name that would have been lost from his family had it not been for the intervention of his grandfather, Christos Demertzis, husband of Euphrosyne nee Bouboulis, who "with an official request to the Ministry of the Interior requested that Bouboulis be added to his son's name, that is to say my father, lest he perish. That's how we have both surnames, Demertzis-Boumboulis". What is it like growing up on the island of Bouboulina with that last name? "When I was a kid, it wasn't that easy. First of all, we grew up with a museum over our heads. They chased me at school to do every play, to say every poem.

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Pavlos Demertzis-Bouboulis at the Bouboulina Museum.

Growing up, I understood what Bouboulina is, what it means to the whole world and what duty I have towards this name." Pavlos, together with his mother and siblings, is in charge of the Bouboulina Museum, which is housed in the captain's mansion. He spends the summers on the island, the winters between Spetses and Athens. "September and October are beautiful months in Spetses. In winter it's us and the cats, which of course has a beauty, the island still smells of pine and thyme". As for the museum, it remains closed during the winter months. Bubulina is sleeping. Until next summer when the island wakes up, she will wake up too, and she will come to life for another year through the stories of her descendants.

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In the captain's museum, the amazing ceiling stands out.

In recent years, Spetses was marked by two people. The first is Boubulina. The second is Sotirios Anargyros (1849-1928), a Speciotian immigrant who made a huge fortune abroad. Its history and its relationship with the island cannot be described here, they need a book. Among many other things, Anargyros created the Anargyrio and Korgialenio School (which functioned as a college until the 1980s), reforested Spetses, which had been deforested for logging and farming, envisioned and built Posidonio, one of the most beautiful hotels of Greece, which in 2014 turned 100 years old. Since 2009 it has been renovated by the Bordonis family. As Mr. Manolis Vordonis mentions, Anargyros protected it, ensuring that it cannot be sold by the Anargyriou Foundation or change its use beyond that of the hotel. For the plans, Anargyros and his architect traveled to the south of France, took images and ideas from the resorts of the French Riviera and transferred them to the beach of Spetses. Seeing it today, restored to the original standard, one is bewildered by the strange beauty of a landmark that has something foreign and yet something so peculiar. Painted in light tones, with turrets and columns, the Poseidon combines influences and currents. The main thing that differentiates it from the luxury accommodations of today is that it is not of pharaonic size. The entrance, the living room, the garden, the pool are made on a human scale so as a guest you feel comfortable. Passing through the outer door of Poseidonio, you feel that someone is waiting for you inside.

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Poseidonio's architecture is inspired by the French Riviera resorts of the early 20th century.
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Mr. Manolis Vordonis is the soul of Poseidonio.
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The Anargyreios and Korgialenios School of Spetses (AKSS) is a symbol of an era of blossoming and prosperity of the island.
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Two great figures of Spetses meet: Bouboulina from the hands of Natalia Mela.

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Costa Navarino Resort food photography

In this food photography for Costa Navarino Hotel in Greece, main object is the recipes with Navarino Icons products. You may not be able to pack the Messinian sun, sea or landscape into your suitcase, but you can certainly take some of its wonderful flavors back home to treat yourself to a Messinian meal. With more than 50 international distinctions so far, the Navarino Icons line of select products from local producers provides you with the ingredients and the inspiration to adopt a healthy lifestyle with all the Mediterranean diet benefits, while indulging in the delicious flavors of Greek food.

I live in a country with a great food culture, that produce a great variety with unique quality of raw ingredients. Many different tastes and cuisines, from one end of Greece to the other, give a rich culture, a polymorphic taste in such a small country.
Food is such an important part of vacations and food photography of every hotel or resort should bring this quality to the viewer. Costa Navarino is a unique combination of beautiful geography, friendly weather, local products. Because of all that has become one of the most known destinations for family vacations worldwide, ideal place to rest body and mind.

In this set, breakfast has these qualities, made of fresh and pure ingredients from the surrounding area of Kalamata and gives to each visitor the feeling of hospitality one needs to relax and feel joy. This year Greece was named 6th Best Country to visit worldwide and 3rd Friendliest in Europe  following  Condé Nast Traveler’s 2022 lists.  The Westin Resort, Costa Navarino and the The Romanos, a Luxury Collection Resort, Costa Navarino is one of the best resorts and hotels in Greece.

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Nana Hotels food photography

For this food photography mission I have visited the Island of Crete and the well known 5* Nana Hotels. Crete is one of the most important gastronomic destinations in Greece and in global level, with a unique diversity of natural beauty. A place that one can have the experience to taste the pure and healthy mediterranean diet.

Nana Princess resort offers a supreme 5* experience of hospitality and VIP services, with a generous selection of 102 immaculately designed suites and villas.

It has been an honor for me to create a sort of photos, designing food photography for the delicious dining experience of Nana Hotels made by the hand of the Michelin star awarded chef, Lefteris Lazarou.  The Hotel menu serves an exciting selection of local, Mediterranean and International dishes. Carpe Diem Restaurant is the heart and soul of the resort, inviting guests to relish delectable mouth-watering dishes in exquisite surroundings. In this food photography session I had include the design of a huge Buffet Breakfast which includes local, fresh and colorful ingredients, in front of the great hotel view of Aegean big blue sea.

At the pool restaurant the food photography includes pictures from a selection of delicious lunch dishes. As the evening descends, an à la carte menu treats diners to a taste sensation with exquisite dishes. Mouthwatering meat cuts and a variety of delectable fresh pasta are specially prepared; inspired by delicious local cuisine, aromatic Mediterranean flavours and innovative international trends.

The amazing Eternal Blue restaurant which sits on the waterfront, next to the lapping waves of the Nana Princess private beach, gave a great backdrop for close up pictures of dishes with great evening colors. Pictures of fresh fish and seafood as well as colorful sushi selection prepared and served with true passion. It was food photography and dining experience that will remain unforgettable, with creations that seducing all the senses. I truly suggest this very special location. Enjoy the pictures.

 

 

 

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Domaine Hatzimichalis Wine Campaign

With all the support from Leonidas and Panagiotis Hatzimichalis, I followed the wine route in Domaine Hatzimichalis for this greek wine photography campaign. From the Valley of Atalanti, the vineyards, its grounds and the winery until bottling. Every space the human element turns it into a space of creation and defines it. The richness of the natural environment, the value and respect of the ecosystem are highlighted. In this campaign I felt that I followed and captured the steps of our ancestors, from the past to the present.

The producer Dimitris Hatzimichalis is the creator. He is the one who determines the entire production process. He is the one who takes care of quality in all its stages. He is the one who envisions, who chooses, who evolves, always with the aim of the taste, the aroma and the perfect experience of a wine. He made his first wine in his backyard at the age of 19 and several decades later he had excelled the process and became one of the top wine makers in Greece. When Dimitris Hatzimichalis first visited Atalanti Valley he was amazed by its unique ecosystem and fertile land; without second thoughts he bought his first vine hectares in 1973. Today, his privately owned vineyards have reached 220 hectares (520 acres).

In the wine photography process, Hatzimichalis family ties emerge through the relationship with the land, cultivation, passing of wine philosophy from generation to generation. The man who envisioned and made winemaking a reality in the  Koilada Atalanti Dimitris Hatzimichalis and now his sons, Leonidas and Panagiotis, welcome a new look and all together continue the tradition and expand its borders. Both of them are passionately contributing to the family business with their modern mindsets. They work hard to keep the tradition of the winery and maintain their father’s legacy. Their vision, is to expand the brand further and enter in new markets abroad. Lastly, their mission for the winery is to make it even more environmentally sustainable, by reducing wastes, energy/water consumption and by using recyclable materials.

Every year at Domaine Hatzimichalis, the harvest and pruning periods are performed by a group of skillful and experienced women. This was a deliberate choice, as Greek women are known for their caring, patient, and tender character, in addition to their overall courage and strength. These women are who Domaine Hatzimichalis trusts in our tradition of hard work. Dimitris Hatzimichalis always been amazed and inspired by their care for the vineyards, which is essential for the quality of the wines and the brand’s success.

The photography campaign will accompany brand's ads worldwide, exhibitions walls, press releases and magazines presentations.

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Food Photography for Hotel Grand Bretagne

Going through the photography process, challenging my self in new methods as a photography speaker, clients are always the best "creative friends" to unlock views and angles in order to please them and their viewers. Food photography, a common field for  magazines and advertising as well, it is a field that challenge the artist - food photographer to brake the rules and through his creativity, to serve a well cooked photography plate.

"In a spirit of renewal, Executive Chef Asterios Koustoudis of the Grand Bretagne and King George hotels in Athens has appointed new heads of restaurants at each venue. In doing this he's done what all good chefs should do, and used tried and tested ingredients in innovative ways to create excellent new results Experienced chef Nikos Livadias, who has worked in leading restaurants in Athens and on Santorini and Mykonos, arrives as the new chef de cuisine at Tudor Hall, promising to add a new dimension to modem Greek cuisine. He brings with him high aesthetic standards and a talent for creating dishes with fine lines and geometric shapes that entice at first glance. Food photography continuous with the young chef Giannis Liokas after stints in London at restaurants such as Fera at Claridge's and Davies and Brook with Daniel Humm. He returns to Athens to take the position of chef de cuisine at GB Roof Garden. The restaurant's menu remains definitively Mediterranean, but Liokas' style is a shade more homey, and the food is filling and no for the soul. Clearly devoted to creative Greek cuisine, Asterios Koustoudis is promoting fresh seasonal produce across all the menus focusing on dean flavors and supporting smaller, high-quality local producers. These underlying principles are evident in both restaurant and are Needy translated to the dishes themselves. As for the meal's sweet epilogue, the talented new assistant pastry chef Alexandros Koufas will supervise the preparation of recipes created by the distinguished 'Messier Arnaud Lehrer, while also creating his own stunning desserts for the degustation menu - impressive and delicious, like every ending should be. Beginnings too, should do this fantastic four has been brought together to create unforgettable high-quality gastronomic experiences in Athens".

 

 

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Paris Sigalas Winery for Oinochoos

"Paris Winery" is the new brand of the famous Paris Sigalas winery in Santorini announced recently.  I have visited the famous wine maker Paris Sigalas a windy day close to Oia, to capture his portrait on the place that he lives and explores the wine roads of Santorinis most famous Greek wines
Published on Oinochoos magazine. interview by Meropi papadopoulou.
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Let There Be Light

Interview By Alexia Amvrazi | July 21st, 2022 about MYRMIΔΟNES to Greece-is.com

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In an ode to his native island of Aegina, the photographer talks to Greece Is about its people, its light, and the experiences that shaped his book.

It took 20 years and over 2000 photos for Dimitris Vlaikos to decide it was time to place the soul of his work into the body of a beautiful hard-cover coffee table book that could grace homes around the world.

Titled “Myrmidones” after the name given to the inhabitants of his native Aegina (the introduction aptly explains the various possibilities of where the name originates), the book is composed of images depicting an extraordinary blend of local characters, landscapes and everyday details. The book is mostly anthropocentric, because Vlaikos has honed the art of capturing his subjects’ personal essence without guidance, a talent that has gained him a great reputation as a portrait artist and numerous assignments to photograph well known personalities.

 

Leafing through the book was a deeply touching experience. The way in which the photographer has captured the essence of his subjects – human or not – makes it an ode of sorts to his home island, rich in emotion, but characterized by stark realism.

Vlaikos spends half of the year in Aegina, chiefly during the summer months, and the rest of his time travels to and fro between various work projects. By creating this book, it seems as if he has established an unbreakable bond with the Saronic island’s people, land and elements, regardless of where he finds himself.

It’s apparent by looking at your book that you harbor a great love for your island.

There are amazing people living there, and it is multifaceted in a way that I’ve rarely witnessed elsewhere. Also, what I love about Aegina is that you can be sitting at a café where there’s a minister drinking coffee and at the table next to him, a fisherman – and the waiter will treat each of them with the same courtesy – or the same rudeness! Some people have described the island as ataxic. You feel and see that.

I think that has a lot to do with the fact that most of the island is flat – so all houses are on the same level, and everyone has the same access and right to light. It’s the same with the sea. There aren’t some beaches that are more exclusive than others, anyone can go to any beach, or rock, and swim. Overall, Aegina seems to bring out a life force in people, and if you’re the kind of person that wants to evolve, it offers you that possibility.”

How did the book project evolve?

 

The Myrmidones reached a very high level of civilization in antiquity thanks to the elements of their land – the rock, the light, the sea, the raw materials, their drive to create. And until today, these elements remain essentially the same. So the book was my way of juxtaposing the Myrmidones of the past with those of today.

I also wanted to create a book that is like an art object, a beautiful memento to have in one’s house. I put a lot of care into every aspect – including the use of only black ink, which is very rare. I collaborated with a very good friend, the graphic artist Dimitris Makaratzis, who created the cover, as well as Despina Giannouli, who wrote the texts (in Greek and English) and is my wife and writes and directs theatre plays. My professor Vasilis Artikos, whose exhibition “In drum and dance at the rock-cut churches of Lalibela” is currently on show the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens, provided much advice and support, as well as other close friends.

How does the light of Aegina and influence your work?

 

In my research, I centered on the various elements of light. [In the book, Despoina Giannouli writes: “Thanks to the geomorphology of the island, almost all of its inhabitants can savor the light from sunrise to sunset. The paspara, the white stone and the fine-grained soil reflect the sun’s rays intensifying the colors of nature.”]

 

It’s not by chance that Nikos Kazantzakis lived there for 20-30 years, or Giannis Moralis, for most of his life, or Christos Kapralos, or the poet Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke, and they all produced their work there – it wasn’t their place for holidays but for creative work. And today the island is home to over 100 artists, so this land, and especially its light has something special that has drawn so many creators from antiquity until the present day. Light is my tool, it’s what made me want to evolve my art.

Apart from light, what do you feel are the other strong elements that inspired this work?

I think the energy of the land plays a significant role, but that’s not something that I can define with words. In the book’s introduction to the origin of the name Myrmidones, one of the ways they’re defined is that they were “the people of the “myriad vibrations,” as Aegina was considered to be a region of strong and sacred energy vibrations, a place fertile for spiritual development.

 

How did you put the book together?

An important part of this book is the rhythm one follows as one turns the pages. I wanted it to create in the viewer a musical rhythm, a transition from image to image through a story of sorts, like a journey.

Hand of a farmer, Mesagros. © Dimitris Vlaikos / "Myrmidones" book cover. © Dimitris Vlaikos

What will become of the rest of the photos you’ve taken?

They will remain in my archives, and maybe I’ll use them in future. I have a space in my studio/gallery space in Aegina where, upon appointment, one can come and see exhibits.

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Central distribution of “Myrmidones” is at “Lixnari Aegina” Bookstore. E-mail: lixnari@otenet.gr. Tel: +30 22970 26424. Shipments are made throughout Greece and abroad.


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MYRMIΔONES - Αναπνέοντας το φως της Αίγινας

MYRMIDONES_dimitris_vlaikos_photoΟι «MYRMΙΔONES» αποτελούν το αποτύπωμα της αναζήτησης του Δημήτρη Βλάικου στο νησί της Αίγινας, τα τελευταία 20 χρόνια. Έχοντας ως κεντρικό του άξονα τους ανθρώπους, ο φωτογράφος βαδίζει μια διαδρομή παρατήρησης και κατανόησης των στοιχείων που συνθέτουν τον τόπο, όπου γεννήθηκε και μεγάλωσε. Το φως, βασικό εργαλείο της δουλειάς του, γίνεται αντικείμενο μελέτης αναφορικά με την επίδρασή του στο χαρακτήρα, την αντίληψη, τη δημιουργικότητα και τη χάραξη πορείας ζωής, τόσο των κατοίκων του νησιού, όσο και του ίδιου. Μέσα από το φακό του επιθυμεί να ανακαλύψει τον τρόπο με τον οποίο τα βιώματά του έγιναν η μνήμη που επηρεάζει και διαμορφώνει τις επιλογές, την οπτική του και την αισθητική προσέγγιση του έργου του. Οι εικόνες του βιβλίου παρουσιάζουν στιγμές από την καθημερινότητα των κατοίκων, πορτραίτα ανθρώπων που αλληλεπιδρούν με το περιβάλλον τους και όλα εκείνα τα στοιχεία, που συνθέτουν την κουλτούρα που εμπνέει, προκαλεί και αγκαλιάζει τους Μυρμιδόνες του χθες και του σήμερα.

 

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Χαρακτηριστικά λευκώματος

Έκδοση: 1η έκδοση

Εξώφυλλο: Σκληρό εξώφυλλο

Αριθμός σελίδων: 178 σελίδες

Αριθμός εικόνων: 89 εικόνες

Διαστάσεις: 28cm* 29cm

Γλώσσα: Ελληνικά και Αγγλικά

 

Συντελεστές

Φωτογραφίες  © Δημήτρης Βλάικος

Κείμενα © Δέσποινα Γιαννούλη

Επιμέλεια κειμένων: Νατάσσα Ντούμα

Μετάφραση: Δωρίς Μπρούμα

Σχεδίαση: Δημήτρης Βλάικος

Ψηφιοποίηση φιλμ: Filmora Lab

Σύμβουλος έκδοσης: Τάσος Παπαχαραλάμπους

Εκτύπωση: Smart Print

Εκδότης: Dimitris Vlaikos Gallery

ISBN 978-618-00-3754-8

 

 

Κεντρική διάθεση : Βιβλιοπωλείο «Λυχνάρι Αίγινας»

Στοιχεία επικοινωνίας και παραγγελιών

e-mail: lixnari@otenet.gr

τηλέφωνο: +30 22970 26424

(Αποστολές σε όλη την Ελλάδα και το εξωτερικό)