Have you heard of 20th century photographer Elly Sougioultzoglou-Seraidari? You probably know her as Nelly’s. The renowned 20th century photographer from Minor Asia lived and worked in Germany, Athens and the US. Benaki Museum presents the first ever complete retrospective that includes pieces from her entire body of work. The currently running exhibition consists of more than 500 photographs in total. Nelly’s work focused a lot on portraits, but she became most famous for her photos of dancers posing almost nude at the Acropolis. She captured dancers Nikolska and Mona Paeva, among others, scantily dressed in peplums, leaving her mark as one of the leading figures in neoclassical photography. These pieces caused controversy in the 1920s, but that never stopped Nelly’s from working on her craft and expressing herself in various ways throughout her career. As a result, her oeuvre had a strong influence on post-war photography.
Nelly’s exhibited work at the Benaki spans throughout three periods: the years she spent studying photography in Dresden after she left her home in Minor Asia, the period between 1924-1939 that she spent in Athens as a professional photographer, and the third and largely unknown period of her career in the US until 1966 at which point she retired from photography.