Backpacking memories at the Benaki.

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On the advice of  the excellent online site ‘Why Athens’ we headed across to the other side of Athens on the weekend to an exhibition by Greek photographer Constantinos Pittas.

Entitled ‘Images of another Europe 1985-89’ it was always going to interest this ageing punter being one of the many thousands of young backpackers who spent time in here in Europe in the 80s.

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Pittas had the aim of photographing people either side of the iron curtain to show that everyday life was similar no matter where you lived.

He had no formal training. In most cases the  small camera was hidden and the subjects had no idea they were being photographed.

Pittas visited 17 countries across Europe to acquire the images, sleeping in his car and camping.

The images of Berlin struck a chord with me as I vividly remember the crossover through Checkpoint Charlie to East Berlin.

It was daunting for a naive young Australian and strikingly contrasted in terms of mood and atmosphere.

Being the 1980s alcohol seemed to flow everywhere.

On the west side celebrations abounded while in the east perhaps it was a coping mechanism.

Anyway the wall has gone, times have changed and we have moved on. Or have we?

An interesting and thought provoking exhibition at the Benaki Museum Annex in Athens.

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