Photographer, Visual Artist

1899 – 1998


Who was Nelly's?

Elli b.1899 - d.1998 was a Greek female photographer whose pictures of ancient Greek temples set against sea and sky backgrounds helped shaped the visual image of Greece in the Western mind

She was born in Aidini, near Smyrna, Asia Minor. She went to study photography in Germany under Hugo Erfurth and Franz Fiedler, in 1920-1921, before the 1922 expulsion of the ethnic Greeks of Asia Minor by the Turks following the Greco-Turkish war. In 1924, she came to Greece, where she adopted a naive nationalistic and conservative approach to her work. Her style coincided with the Greek state's need to produce an ideal view of the country and its people, for internal as well as external purposes. In this respect Souyioultzoglou-Seraidari can be seen as the first Greek "national" advertiser, especially after her appointment as official photographer of the newly established Greek Ministry of Tourism.

At some point she was referred to as "the Greek Leni Riefenstahl" because of her collaboration with the 4th of August Regime, of which she was one of its most prolific photographers. In 1936, she photographed the Berlin Olympic Games, where she met Leni Riefenstahl, and accompanied her to Olympia and assisted her during the filming of "Triumph of the Will", ordered and funded by the Nazi party. In 1939, she was commissioned with the decoration of the interior of the Greek pavilion at the New York's World Fair, which she did with gigantic collages expressing in an extremely selective manner the physical similarities between ancient and modern Greeks.

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Nov 23, 1899
Also known as
  • Elli Souyioultzoglou-Seraïdari
Aug 8, 1998

on July 23, 2013


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