Nikolaos Tombazis’ Photographic Exhibition “India-Greece”

The section of the photographic archive of the Benaki Museum organised from 16 May until 19 June, 2005, a retrospective performance of the total work of Nikolaos Tompazis (1894-1986), the pioneering Greek mountaineer traveller. His work was recorded and preserved by photographic testimony displaying scenes of folklore tradition, as well as brilliant, gorgeous architectural monuments of the cities FatehpurSikriLuknowLahoreBenaresDelhi andShrinagar.

The exhibition consisted of two parts: His periods in India and in Greece. The first included the authentic impressions from 1917 until 1945 and was accompanied by adorable objects which Tompazis obtained during his exploration in the Himalayas and in Sikkim. At the same time, his cameras, handmade albums and maps, as well as samples of his negatives were exhibited. The exhibition was surrounded by a total of 100 photographs taken at a mountaineering expedition at the Himalayas in 1920.

Nikolaos Tompazis was born in 1894 at Agia Petroupolis, where his father was the Ambassador for Greece, and his origin lied in the family of Admiral Tompazis, the great agonist of 1821. In 1916 he was employed by the firm Rallis Brothers and settled in India where he lived for 26 years in total. India and particularly the Himalayas offered him the opportunity to seek the untrodden and the impervious, the adventure of the mountains, to seek for conquests of peaks whether successful or not, as he illustrated in the introduction of his book “Account of aPhotographic Expedition to the Southern Glaciers of Kanchenjunga in theSikkim Ηimalaya.”

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The Benaki museum published the exhibited photos in a luxurious volume together with introductory articles by Eirini Bountouri, commissary of the photographical archive, Dimitris Filippidis, professor of architecture at the technical university of Athens, and by Alexandros Tompazis, son of the unforgettable Nikos Tompazis, who was celebrated as one of the best Greek photographers of his time.