MINIATURE LANDSCAPES: Sharqi, the instant photograph, and the re-invention of Cyprus

Elena Stylianou, Nicos Philippou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This visual essay examines Sharqi, a collection of 27 polaroid photographs that are the result of Nicos Philippou’s decade-long photographic and theoretical investigation of Cypriot topography. The essay explores the ways in which Sharqi challenges existing photographic representations of Cyprus, produced mainly in the early-to-mid twentieth century by photographers, by travellers and by the state itself, while raising relevant questions about how: (a) Cypriot landscape photography often carries a romanticized and orientalizing gaze that attests as much to the island’s specific colonial past as to photography’s ties to imperialism, and (b) photography has often become a vehicle for perpetuating a Greek-Cypriot nationalism on the island. Finally, the essay addresses the documentary, autobiographical and self-referential nature of polaroid photography by discussing specific photographs from the Sharqi series. This article also looks at Sharqi in relation to relevant historic examples from the work of Ed Ruscha and Walker Evans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-116
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2019


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