Entry Title: "In Debt"
Name: Gerasimos Koilakos , Greece
Category and Expertise: Deeper Perspective|Photo Essay and Feature Story, Professional


Entry Description: Over the last decade Greece went on a debt binge that came crashing to an end in late 2009, provoking an economic crisis that has decimated the country’s economy. The austerity measures demanded by international lenders in return for two massive bailout packages have ripped holes in the Greek safety net and plunged the country into a recession of near-Great Depression dimensions.

Story: Over the last decade Greece went on a debt binge that came crashing to an end in late 2009, provoking an economic crisis that has decimated the country’s economy. The austerity measures demanded by international lenders in return for two massive bailout packages have ripped holes in the Greek safety net and plunged the country into a recession of near-Great Depression dimensions. Since 2010 I have been documenting the profound tranformations Greek society has been going through. After beeing douched in tear gas and struck by violence in massive demonstrations, dulled faced Athenians had to deal with a new reality in the Greek capital. Empty shop windows were to come accross all over the once vibrant city centre, as unemployment rose and consumption plunged. Small bussinesses went bunkrupt and laid offs became a common place. NGOs were the first to declare a humanitarian crisis as there were growing numbers of Greek beneficiaries of medical services, typically provided to immigrants up until 2009. The number of homeless has been rising steadily, reaching unprecedented levels for a European country. Middle class people, who up to recently had an organized way of life, constitute today the «new poor». Unable to keep up with the cost of living they rely on charity and NGO support, as they pour into homeless shelters and queue at soup kitchens. Greece no longer makes the headlines in international media, yet poverty and desperation are still on the rise and the crisis is far from beeing over.

About the Artist:

Gerasimos Koilakos was born in 1976 in Athens, Greece. After studying at the Leica academy he began his career in archaeological photography, before freelancing. He has photographed in Japan, Bosnia and Turkey while in Greece he has been working on social and political issues. He has carried out assignments for French and German newspapers and magazines and his work has been published internationally in Newsweek, Le Monde, Courrier International, L'Espresso, Internazionale, Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, and Amnesty Journal among others. His reporting on the Greek crisis received a top country pic and two honorable mentions at the 2012 IPA awards and was screened at the 2012 edition of the festival della fotografia etica in Lodi, Italy.