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  • This one I found in a neighborhood called Exarchia, the Anarchist neighborhood.

    I don't remember exactly when I came across it. In those quieter times, I walked through this neighborhood almost every day, at all hours. What I do remember is that it felt like a gift.

    I moved to Greece after a trying time in my life. My father had been kidnapped, my family had lost everything. I was on my own, and I didn't know what else to do, but walk. I'd come to this country on a gut feeling, but I didn't have much of a plan. So at night I'd walk.

    This photo made me feel I was in the right place, moving in the right direction. Like the tarot card that I also found on the street, titled "La Liberazione," it became part of a personal mythology. I was 22.

    My experience in Greece was very much like my experience of this photograph. I saw the good in it first. In fact I never stopped seeing the good in Greece, but with time my perception began to change.

    I could see what lay just outside the frame, like the date printed on this picture: November 1972. That was during a brutal dictatorship in Greece, seven dark years when people were routinely arrested and tortured, their fingernails ripped out, and worse.

    But perhaps that was what had made the photo mine. It was not just the sunlight like a wing over the woman, but the play of light and shadow on the wall. Not just her happy grin, but that hint of relief in her smile. The sense of a final (for a moment) release from darkness.

    La Liberazione.
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