A Precious Past Reclaimed - Greek Cypriot Village


Published in the Cyprus Mail - 16 August 2014 
Written by Bejay Browne

Excerpts from article:

The Tale of a village in the north whose Greek Cypriot residents were torn apart and displaced by the Turkish invasion has been eloquently and lovingly resurrected by two foreigners with only indirect links to the village.

A book, and then a film containing photos of the residents of Phlamoudhi before the invasion, have given the refugees a precious link to a way of life which has now gone forever, and which they were forced to flee leaving all their belongings behind - including photos.

Ian Cohn came first.  The American photographer and architect came to Cyprus in 1972 to take photos of an archaeological dig taking place near Phlamoudhi, on the cost east of Kyrenia.

"I was invited to be the official photographer for the Columbia university expedition for eight weeks.  Everyone was very welcoming, even though I had an outlandish appearance.  We were the first foreigners who had ever lived in the village," said Cohn, smiling at the memory of his massive Afro hairstyle.

He fell in love with the village and ended up taking photographs of some 250 villagers.  Little did he know that these pictures would come to mean so much, becoming a sort of family album for a new diaspora community.

Cohn said he first photographed his assistant, villager Georgios Hadjipapaphotiou and his family, and the project grew from there.