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Gorgeous Photos Of Greece Explain Everything

This story also just won a prestigious grant, so thats two reasons to look at it.

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Francesco Anselmi

Laborers stand in the open pit of Kozani's coal mine. The coal mine, located in the north Greek Macedonian region, is the second biggest pit in Europe, and the five coal power plants surrounding it provide up to 75% of the entire energy produced by the country. Kozani, October 2014.

Francesco Anselmi recently won the FotoVisura Grant, which aims to highlight and support photographers who are working to bring awareness to sociocultural causes (full disclosure: I was on the panel of judges for this year's grant). Anselmi is an Italian photographer who splits his time between Athens and Milan.

His project, titled "Greek Chronicles," examines the ethos and divisions with Greece over the past four years. With the support of the grant, Anselmi intends to continue this project, looking at how prison culture has been affected by crisis-related crimes such as fraud or robbery, and simultaneously exploring how tourism and religion are shaping a society in flux.

For background, what drew you to Greece in the first place?

Francesco Anselmi: I first visited Greece in the end of 2012. The clashes happening in Syntagma Square were everywhere in the news, and as a young photojournalist fresh out of school, I was looking for an area to cover for my new agency. After spending some time in Athens I realized the crisis was way deeper than some tangle between police and protesters, and started researching about its main consequences.

Francesco Anselmi

Russian tourists visit the site of Meteora in northern Greece. As a consequence of the crisis Greece is opening to major investments from Russia and Eastern European countries. Meteora, June 2015.

Your project, "Greece Chronicles," touches on a wide range of topics: migrants, religion, economics, law, protests, and tourism. How did you decide what to focus on? Or was it organic growth?

FA: At first I decided to focus on the main social consequences, such as the radicalization of political forces and all the aspects connected to the dramatic impoverishment of the country. In a second moment, I realized that an economical crisis doesn't only affect the present of Greece, but also the way the country plans its future investments — like the impossibility to start converting energy production from coal to a more sustainable one.

Francesco Anselmi

An anti-riot policeman stands alone in front of Kos police station surrounded by hundreds of Syrian refugees waiting to register with the authorities in order to continue their journey toward northern Europe. It is estimated that in 2015 nearly a million refugees and migrants crossed the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe. Kos, September 2015.

What part of the story are you focusing on next? You had mentioned prisons, tourism, and religion in your Visura pitch — can you expand on that?

FA: I recently started working in Greek prisons, with the idea to find and meet prisoners that committed crimes somehow related to the crisis — from people that lost their jobs and got arrested for robbery, to major frauds regarding the public sector. I'm planning to document the way the crisis is affecting the tourism industry — as Greece is opening to major foreign investments, which are changing the microeconomy of entire areas — and would like to explore the role of religion in such a difficult period for the Greek society.

Francesco Anselmi

Anarchists make Molotov cocktail bombs the day prior to a demonstration to remember the seventh anniversary of the murder of a 16-year-old boy by a police officer on Dec. 6, 2008. The anarchist movement fights police repression and fascism, aiming for a self-organized society. Athens, December 2015.

What is the intended audience for this project? It feels like a living historical document more than traditional reportage — was that intentional?

FA: I'd like to start working on a book project soon, as I feel it would be the best way to vehicle years of work on so many different topics. The idea, as you said, is to create a historical document about this crucial period in the history of Greece, capable of highlighting all the gaps and contradiction of the current European Union.

Francesco Anselmi

Panagiotis Theodoros, 72, lies with his wife Sonya. Theodoros worked for 30 years in the Kozani coal power plant. For 10 years he has suffered heavy respiratory problems, and hasn't been able to move from his bed for three. Kozani, November 2014.

Your photos have this cinematic feel to them — is that something that you cultivated prior to this project, or did it go hand in hand with this work?

FA: I never thought about it. But I'd say it's part of the way I work. I spend long time studying a subject before actually shooting. I get to know everything I can about it; I consider the actual shot the end of a much longer process. Most of the times I get into a situation already knowing what kind of image I'm looking for.

Francesco Anselmi

A Romanian woman, known as Amalia to drug-abuse outreach workers, died of an apparent blood infection few minutes after this photo was taken, in an empty lot near Omonoia Square. Her Afghan boyfriend says the ambulance took more than an hour to get there. Athens, October 2012.

The finalists for this year's grant explored gangs in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; child soldiers in Colombia; white pride in the American South; and alternative communities for LGBT teens in New York.