Each photograph he takes represents a personal odyssey, where the destination matters less than preserving a fleeting moment destined to endure eternally.
Text: Romina Xyda
Photo: Panayiotis Mina
Sometimes, a single encounter can reshape one’s entire perspective. For Andros Efstathiou, this transformation occurred at the age of 17 when he met a photographer who had journeyed to Nicaragua to capture the essence of the Sandinistas. That pivotal meeting altered his outlook on life; “I was captivated by his work and the lifestyle of a photographer. For me, photography was not just a career choice. It was a path I carved guided by my emotions. At the time, I didn’t dwell on the future within this field. My focus was on living a life brimming with emotions.” Subsequent studies in Athens and a career marked by numerous triumphs followed suit. “Athens bestowed knowledge on me, valuable connections with exceptional individuals, and abundant opportunities. One standout achievement occurred in 2000 when I represented Greece in the prestigious international Camel Trophy race in the Tonga Islands. This marked a significant personal triumph, one that fills me with immense pride.” He feels a similar pride in Isnotgallery, a pioneering contemporary art space he created in 2008 in Old Nicosia, 200 metres from the Green Line.
Yet, when asked to identify the pinnacle of his career, he invariably refers to the Nicosia International Airport project: “The photograph etched in my memory is the one captured at Nicosia Airport in 2012, situated on the Green Line and monitored by the United Nations. In that year, following years of persistent efforts, I successfully located the pilot and flight attendants of the last Cypriot Airlines flight that touched down at Nicosia Airport on July 20, 1974 – the fateful day of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. After four decades, I finally managed to photograph these individuals, poignant symbols of Cypriot history, clad in their official uniforms outside the Nicosia Airport building. Their tear-filled eyes gazed upon it, encapsulating profound emotion. To me, each photograph is a narrative, a story frozen in time. Yet, that particular image is the most sacred, significant, and profoundly shocking of all.”