2013 Papapetrou CCP catalogue
Can you imagine this gutsy, petite Greek woman in her mid 20’s—a lawyer by profession but one seriously considering a life outside the law—turning up to the Miss Alternative World Ball at the San Remo Ballroom in Carlton, Melbourne and asking to photograph the drag queens against the exuberant flocked wallpaper, and returning every year from 1988 to 1995. Or similarly, returning on a regular basis, from 1986 to 1993, to the Melbourne General Cemetery in Carlton to photograph earnest Elvis Presley fans in their annual homage. Polixeni Papapetrou was inspired as much by her love of Diane Arbus’s photography as her outsider status as the child of immigrants with a profound respect for difference, in a period in Australia where being Greek was not considered particularly glamorous. From the outset Papapetrou addressed her subject with respect, rigour, determination and a fine understanding of photography’s history and theory.