Marita Pappa: Orange Girl

16 Jun 2014

Among the numerous submissions that we received, and for which we wish to thank all the photographers who sent their work to the Photocaptionist, it is our extreme pleasure to introduce you to the oneirically sublime world of photographer Marita Pappa. Seduced by the verses of Odysseus Elytis’s ‘Orange Girl’, she returns to her roots, Athens, to portray the ‘restless ecstasy’ of her homeland. Enjoy the photo-literary feast!

The Orange Girl

The sun’s juice so intoxicated her
That she bowed her head and bit by bit agreed
To become: the little Orange Girl!

So as the seven skies shone azure
So as the crystals touched a fire
So as the swallowtails flashed
Angels above and girls below were perplexed
Storks above and peacocks below were perplexed
And they all gathered together and saw her together
And they all called her: Orange Girl

The vine and the scorpion get drunk the whole world gets drunk
But the prick of day does not let the pain go
The dwarf heron speaks her into small worms
Water striking speaks her into golden moments
And dew speaks her into the good northwind’s upper lip:

Get up little little little Orange Girl!
No one knows you as well as a kiss
Not even laughing God knows you
Who with his open hand in the blazing sunglare
Shows you naked to his thirty-two winds!

  Odysseus Elytis, 1943 [1]

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“Should I start dreaming or should I stay awake? ‘All the world’s a stage’, Shakespeare once wrote, and the picture of my city was reflected in his words. Suddenly my once abandoned land became my muse, transformed into a stage. The people became part of a play that is performed in a dream-like state, running in parallel to reality.
The portrait of a homeland, that exists only as I see it. Where everything is restless ecstasy and there is nothing to be afraid of. I closed my eyes, and listened to the silence of my imaginary world. ‘To hold your breath is to lose your breath.’ The palm trees become my humble companion in this long journey.
Guided by the Athenian light, this city becomes my ‘Golden Eternity’. For it has been the only home I’ve ever known. Waiting patiently for a revolution. It will come one day.
Sunbeams will slowly lead us to the truth; if all this is a reality yet unfulfilled or if it is just a strange vision. It is a movie in my mind. An adventure, that will never die because it was never born.”

Marita Pappa, 2014

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Marita Pappa is a Greek, London-based, freelance photographer. In 2012 she was awarded a scholarship to complete her MA in Photographic Studies at the University of Westminster in London. Her work has been exhibited in the UK, Greece, Ireland and Scotland. She shoots almost exclusively in colour film, inspired by poetry, the road, skies, palm trees, clouds, red balloons and Nina Simone’s voice.

[1] Odysseus Elytis, ‘The Orange Girl’, in Variations on a Sunbeam, translated by Jeffrey Carson and Nikos Sarris, The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2004, p. 100.