Educator and Photographer Niko J. Kallianiotis is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this social documentary photography. From his book ‘America in a Trance‘ published by Damiani. To see Niko’s body of work click on any photograph.
About two decades ago my father moved to Scranton, Pennsylvania, which was my second experience with the United States. In the late 70’s he took the journey from Greece to New York City to work on his post-graduate studies, which evidently led him to the Keystone State. Living in Pennsylvania and traveling through the cities and towns, long before I picked up a camera, helped me shape my perception of what America is, or isn’t.
In 2015 I started working on America in a Trance as I traveled across the state of Pennsylvania, a once prosperous and vibrant region where the notion of small town values and sustainable small businesses thrived under the sheltered wings of American Industry. A mode to promote American values, industrialism provided a place where immigrants from tattered European countries crossed the Atlantic for a better future. An immigrant and naturalized citizen myself, I had always perceived the U.S. differently, mostly from the Hollywood experience and the adventures of “Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man”. The transition from Athens to New York City to Pennsylvania proved to be an invaluable experience, an education about America and its traditions, values, but also its concerns.
This project is an ongoing observation of the fading American dream so typified in the northeastern Pennsylvania landscape but widespread across the United States. My subject choices derive from intuition and the desire to explore the unknown and rediscover the familiar. Through form, light, and color, I let the work develop organically, and become a commentary of place but also of self. I am not interesting in how things look, but mostly on how things feel, with the hues and light playing the role of a constituent of hope. The work is a product of love, for both the state and country I have called home for the last two decades; it is not meant to be political but its about the experience of being there, showing you what I see but mostly what I feel. While my interest is not in the depiction of desolation, at times it becomes necessary to the narrative. I search for images that reflect, question, and interpret life in the towns and cities across the Keystone State, and the yearning for survival. My interest is in the vernacular and the inconsequential, that which becomes metaphorical and a connotation to a personal visual anthology for the photographer but also for the viewer.
Book By Niko J. Kallianiotis