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Burnout: A society on the edge

Switzerland sees the Greek crisis through the lens of photographer Dimitris Michalakis

The Greek crisis has made itself known in Switzerland, thanks to a photography exhibition by Dimitris Michalakis in Zurich's Coalmine Gallery .

“You ruined my day”, a Swiss visitor told the photographer at the opening of the exhibition.

“People looked in confusion, they were startled, as if they didn't expect to see images of this kind. Maybe that's because they only see images of demonstrations and riots in Syntagma. In other words, they get to see the event and not the causes that lead us there,” Michalakis tells Epsilon magazine.

The name of the exhibition, Burnout, is taken from the field of psychology. “Burnout means 'occupational exhaustion'. The crisis has given the elite a golden opportunity to impoverish the working class and wipe out the middle class, forgetting that the wealth we all enjoy is produced by workers. We live in a system that has everything, but not for everyone.”

Michalakis says he wanted to make a record of the existing situation. “The crisis served as a pretext for me to enter deeper and photograph our daily life. The unseen side. The war which you can't sense and whose marks you can't see unless you live here.”

“I was very impressed with the fact that people in Zurich did not question for a second what we told them and showed them during our introduction. There was no disbelief. Just a big astonishment.”

Michalakis says what he will remember of the exhibition is a Swiss visitor telling him 'now I understand why all this happens in Greece'. “These words were the most important thing to me,” he says.

Photographer Dimitris Michalakis Photographer Dimitris Michalakis Dimitris Michalakis was born in Elefsina in 1977. He studied photography at the Focus School of Photography in Athens and has been a professional photographer since 2003. He has contributed to various Greek and international publications including Spiegel, Die Zeit, and Eleftherotypia's Epsilon magazine. He has travelled on journalistic missions to more than 20 countries.

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