Orestis Kourakis
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Orestis Kourakis
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03

About photography

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Λεπτομέρεια από χρυσό ψέλλιο (βραχιόλι) με κοκκιδωτή διακόσμηση και ζωόμορφη απόληξη, από την Ευρωπό Κιλκίς. Συλλογή του Αρχαιολογικού Μουσείου Θεσσαλονίκης. ©ΑΜΘ
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Archaeological photography

When looking at a photograph of the past, the last thing to cross one’s mind is the photograph as a piece of art. Instead, it rarely registers that you are, in fact, viewing two artefacts simultaneously - the object depicted and the contemporary photograph that captured it. The archaeological photographer initiates a genuine dialogue with art of the past - trying to discretely capture their presence while illuminating each object’s story and place in history.

These artefacts can become powerful windows into the past which, when given a contemporary perspective, can promote communication, understanding, and deep appreciation between civilisations diachronically.

 

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Snapshot from the documention of archaeological artifacts
My approach
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Every single time I begin a project, I become part of a team. I consider the people I work for, my partners and colleagues, as collaborators attempting to address the same challenge as I. Together we try to determine the most effective approach to each scenario, pooling our experiences and opinions in order to elicit as much accurate evidence as possible from every object, every opportunity.

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Orestis Kourakis portrait

short CV

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Orestis Kourakis is a professional photographer specialising in the field of Computational Archaeological Photography. He is PhD candidate at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens studying color identification techniques on archaeological objects and has received his Master’s degree in photography from Savannah College of Art and Design (GA, USA) with honors. In 2012, Orestis was selected for the Fulbright Scholarship for Artists as a Visiting Scholar to Columbia University (NY), internationally introducing his creation of an interactive online platform for Ancient Greek and Roman collections. He collaborates with leading museums and art institutions around the globe and in 2011 was selected by the Louvre Museum as the exclusive photographer for their exquisite 2011-2012 exhibit “Ancient Macedonia, the Kingdom of Alexander the Great” at the Louvre (Paris, France).

In addition to conventional photography, Orestis continues to develop new innovative techniques, special software, and specialised robotic systems while exploring fields such as aerial orthophotogrammetry, 3D reconstruction, and Augmented Reality.

Orestis has conducted photography workshops at Harvard University, Columbia University, Stevens Institute of Technology, and University of Granada Graduate Program as well as an extensive series of lectures on Archaeological Photography throughout Europe and the USA. He teaches Photography at the American College of Thessaloniki, Greece (2010-present) and the International Hellenic University (2014-present). Orestis’ photographs have been published in more than 100 catalogs, books, scientific journals, and newspapers worldwide. Many of his papers have been published in proceedings of international conferences and exhibition catalogs. He has presented his artistic work in over 30 exhibitions in Greece and abroad.

Archaeological photography - indicative photographs

Clients / Collaborations

Museum of Louvre
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Akropolis Museum
Berkeley
Onassis Foundation
Museum of Cycladic Art
Tampa Museum of Art
Princetown University Museum
Archeological Museum of Thessaloniki
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
Benaki Museum
Forth
Museum of Fine Arts
Columbia University
Byzantine Museum
The Hispanic Society of America
Attiko Metro
The Walters Art Museum
Byzantine & Christian Museum
Fulbright
Hispanic Society of America, New York City, NY
Institute of Computer Science Foundation for Research and Technology of the University of Crete, Greece
Museum of Royal tombs at Aegae, Imathia, Greece
Archaeological Museum of Aiani, Western Macedonia
Archeological Museum of Amfipolis, Eastern Macedonia
Archeological Museum of Delos, Cyclades
Archeological Museum of Dion, Central Macedonia
Archeological Museum of Drama, Thrace
Archeological Museum of Florina, Western Macedonia
Archeological Museum of Grevena, Western Macedonia
Archeological Museum of Kastoria, Western Macedonia
Archeological Museum of Kavala, Eastern Macedonia
Archeological Museum of Kilkis, Central Macedonia
Archeological Museum of Komotini, Thrace
Archeological Museum of Kozani, Western Macedonia
Archeological Museum of Naxos, Cyclades
Archeological Museum of Paros, Cyclades
Archeological Museum of Pella, Central Macedonia
Archeological Museum of Philippi, Eastern Macedonia
Archeological Museum of Polygyros, Chalkidiki
Archeological Museum of Sifnos, Cyclades
Archeological Museum of Thasos, Eastern Macedonia
Archeological Museum of Thera, Cyclades
Archeological Museum of Thiva, Central Greece
Archeological Museum of Xanthi, Thrace
Benaki Museum, Athens
Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens
Ephorate of Antiquities of the Chalkidiki, Central Macedonia
Ephorate of Antiquities of the City of Thessaloniki, Central Macedonia
Ephorate of Antiquities of the Pieria, Central Macedonia
Ephorate of Antiquities of the Region of Thessaloniki, Central Macedonia
Ephorate of Antiquities of the Rodopi, Thrace
Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete
Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens
Museum of Byzantine Culture in Thessaloniki
Museum of the Eleutherna archaeological site, Crete
Rethymno Archeological Museum, Crete

Testimonials

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Sophie Descamps
Sophie Descamps
Role
Curator of Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities
Organization
Louvre Museum, France
Testimonial

Thanks to his expertise in archaeological photography, Orestis was selected to be the unique photographer for the Greek part of our exhibition’s catalogue Au royaume d’ Alexandre le Grand. La Macédoine antique. He is focusing on providing comprehensive and informative data to support the study of the ancient world.

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Christopher Lightfoot
Christopher Lightfoot
Role
Curator Greek and Roman Art
Organization
The Metropolitan Museum of Art NYC (The MET), USA
Testimonial

Orestis has developed new and exciting techniques to create arresting images of both archaeological sites and ancient works of art. He provided the photographs that were used for the cover design of the exhibition catalogue, Ennion: Master of Roman Glass New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Nathan T. Arrington
Nathan T. Arrington
Role
Assistant Professor of Classical Archaeology
Organization
Princeton University, USA
Testimonial

Orestis is able to make even the most mundane and worn archaeological objects shine like the Derveni Krater.

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Angeliki Kottaridi
Angeliki Kotaridi
Role
Director of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Imathia, Greece
Testimonial

8 years of excellent cooperation at all levels. In addition to the high quality of his photographs, it is worth pointing out Mr. Kourakis' continued willingness to experiment with new methods, in order to meet the high demands of the combination of scientific documentation and appealing presentation.

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Nikolaos Papazarkadas
Nikolaos Papazarkadas
Role
Associate Professor of Classics
Organization
University of California, Berkeley, USA
Testimonial

Orestis’ pioneering methodology on the RTI technique in conjunction with his innovative robotic systems reveal details that could not have been brought to light otherwise. Several Siphnian inscriptions, among which the famous epigram of Croesus from Thebes, would have been a defective text without Orestis.

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Seth D. Pevnick
Seth D. Pevnick
Role
Chief Curator and Richard E. Perry Curator of Greek and Roman Art
Organization
Tampa Museum of Art, USA
Testimonial

Orestis produced thousands of beautiful photographs of selected objects from our collection, which allow users to virtually manipulate the objects, viewing them from all different angles and zooming in to see the finest details. He also delivered a terrific lecture, explaining his photographic innovations at museums in Europe and the US.

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Selected book covers

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Scientific publications, photo albums and books of archeology host on their cover my photos of archeological objects and monuments.

 

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© Orestis Kourakis. Website created by Point Blank