Artists Discuss America in a Trance Exhibit

    This photo from Niko J. Kallianiotis’ book “America in a Trance” will be among the images featured in an exhibit in The University of Scranton’s Hope Horn Gallery, which is on display now through Nov. 16.
    November 12, 2018
    By: Eric Eiden ’19, student correspondent

    Niko Kallianiotis, the photographer of the exhibition “America in a Trance” now on display in the Hope Horn Gallery, was joined by photographer Luke Wynn, documentary and street photographer Parker Reinecker and award-winning author and journalist Seamus McGraw in a panel discussion about the exhibit and on capturing the cultural identity of small towns in Pennsylvania in images. The three panelists also wrote short essays on Kallianoitis’ work.

    Kallianiotis, originally from Athens, Greece, first visited the United States by going to New York City in the late 1980s, but wanted to truly experience the country by seeing its small towns.

    “I wanted to explore small town industrial America as a way to find myself and assimilate myself with the country and the state,” Kallianiotis said. “One of the difficulties of having two countries and loving two countries is to try to find yourself and find your identity through the place you live.”

    Kallianiotis’ “America in a Trance,” involves photographs from across Pennsylvania capturing scenes of deindustrialization.

    “If you have read the essays it’s almost like they’re expressing their own life histories through the essays, and I’m expressing my life histories and concerns through the photographs,” Kallianiotis said.

    McGraw commented on how Kallianiotis captured the essence of Pennsylvania and put it on display.

    “The towns he takes pictures of, they were never meant to be forever, they’re named after guys who came here to take what they could take and left as soon as they got it. They left fossils behind,” McGraw said. “Niko catches that when you freeze the last moment of life that last moment of hope, and that is the inspiring thing about all of these pictures.”

    Wynn then asked Niko on his process of taking photos in this area and what inspired him to do it.

    “I don’t have a process, the process and inspiration was, for this project and is for many projects that I do, my own life experiences,” Kallianiotis said.

    Even though Niko’s project attempts to capture the idea of industrialization he still encourages people to go out and explore small town America.

    “This project has been and still is an education for me, and I recommend visiting all of these places, getting in your car, driving there and coming to your own conclusions,” Kallianiotis said.

    Reinecker concluded the discussion by describing the feeling of taking photographs in these small-town areas.

    “It isn’t even about getting the picture, it’s about being there and watching that moment unfold,” Reinecker said.

    The panel discussion ended with a question and answer, followed up by a public reception at the Hope Horn Gallery.

    Eric Eiden ’19, Throop, is a journalism/electronic media major at The University of Scranton.
    Eric Eiden ’19, Throop, is a journalism/electronic media major at The University of Scranton.
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