Costas Balafas is a genuine artist of the people, in the sense that everyday people are the central figures in his photographs and that his work is primarily addressed to them. The subjectmatter of his oeuvre has been remarkably consistent: the recording of post-War Greek society. However, Greece through Balafas’ photographs is not picturesque, superficially historical or just a geographically privileged country. It is a living, vibrant place full of conflict, contrasts. Balafas’ origins in Epirus sharpened his sensitivity in recording the lives of the Greeks who, cut off from the centres of progress and decision making, are engaged in an unequal struggle with adverse conditions. He wanders and records, with a child’s admiration and a genuine artist’s sensibility, the pulse of the Greek land, from the salt-pans of the Ionian to the winter pastures of Epirus, and from the architecture of the Aegean to the lignite mines of Aliveri. Balafas looks and listens to the Greek who celebrates, who mourns, who invents ways to carry the precious load of his land. He depicts the ordinary, nameless Greek who is standing in confusion at political, historical and geographical crossroads of all kinds, or struggling with dignity and often without hope. His creative concerns soon rejected aesthetic experimentation. He turned to straight photography, looking with plainness and necessity for the essence of his subject within the limits of the frame and the photographic act. Thus, beauty does not constitute fro him an artistic goal, but a natural consequence of what has inner beauty, what is essentially just and necessary. His compositions are plain, without any affectation. They cut deep and cleanly, with the precision of a scalpel. The life and work of Costas Balafas are marked by the fact that he is self-taught, his uncompromising attitude, his autonomy of expression. More than anything he is a man who never blinked his eyes in front of beauty, truth, destruction and death, all of which he has confronted in abundance.