3 Minutes in Hell

A series of 5 images, taken in the center of Athens on May 15th, 2009, from 11:10:48 am to 11:13:42 am, while on a motorbike ride.

There is a certain area in Athens where it is not advised to walk alone
even in broad daylight. I “happened” to pass by that area on my motorbike, camera hanging from the neck…

Some people look for hell in religious books…
Some people look for paradise in their prayers…

They are both right here!
Beside us…in front of us!


A guy is shooting heroin…his “friends” are watching for the cops…

One way ticket to Hell



Addicts in the center of Athens

…of human misery



The guy sitting on the left is holding the needle between his teeth as he’s tieing a band around his arm in order to find a vein and shoot his heroin. A girl is sitting beside him already high. The other 2 squatting guys are shooting at this very moment and the hand in the right of the frame belongs to the fifth of the zombie company. The 6th guy, few meters away is watching for the cops who are soon to come.

The living dead



The police finally came and all the junkies fled away… All except one…for obvious reasons… Still on my bike I watched the scene. The cop in the dark uniform listened to the guy who was begging not to be beaten (a common practice by the police towards the junkies) A passing buy immigrant stopped for a while, touched by the guy’s pleads…
None of the two policemen had yet seen me or the camera I carried…

The police finally came…



Finally, the cop on the right notices me. I have already lifted my camera and I’m ready to shoot. The cop on the left has gotten dangerously close to the helpless addict when he hears his colleague warning him that there’s someone with a camera nearby. The poor addict is saved…god knows for how long…

That was too close

About Stamatis Gr

Graphic designer by profession, photographer by hobby. https://stamatisgr.wordpress.com/
This entry was posted in Black & White, Street Photography and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to 3 Minutes in Hell

  1. Pingback: The_living_dead: religious books

  2. Pingback: That_was_too_close: religious books

  3. Pingback: One_way_ticket_to_Hell: religious books

  4. Pingback: …of_human_misery: religious books

  5. hello. I used on of your images in my blog. I have credited you. thanks.

    blaine reininger

  6. L says:

    …i found your photos when i was looking for information about what’s going on, what i see everyday in the streets in Athens.!
    For some reason i was strangely happy about these photographs. There’s something so accurate about them. The way you are close (but far away..) and paying attention to what they are doing to themselves is so true and I think the photographs interprete very well the sensation of “passing by” this type of scenes..How quickly the eyes take notice of many things. The feeling…

    So, this is just a strangers comment to your meaningful images, saying i saw them:) i had a look at your other photos as well and enjoyed!

    ( I’m a finnish artists staying in a 2 months residency in Athens at the moment and I’ve lived in even bigger cities before but i would say that the decadence in Athens is on another level…Heart feels and head wants answers. Drugs, among many other unfortunate facts one must witness in this city. sorry for funny english..)

    • Stamatis Gr says:

      Thank you very much for the time you took to look at my pictures! Athens is a city with many sides, good and bad.
      Are you studying in Athens?

  7. marleoni says:

    And to think that there are so many things that could be done, starting by allowing therapy outside of OKANA – they are “treating” approx. 6500 addicts when the waiting list is at least three times as long. Doctors and hospitals everywhere should be allowed to treat addicts; since it’s proven that drug addicts are actually sick people why shouldn’t they be allowed treatment? The stats in other countries prove that it’s the sensible and humane thing to do.

    • Stamatis Gr says:

      Makes you think, doesn’t it? what if this country actually doesn’t wish to reduce the number of drug addicts?
      what if this country actually doesn’t give a f******* damn?

  8. dave b (davincipoppalag) says:

    I remember this series.. powerful stuff

    • Stamatis Gr says:

      Thank you very much for visiting and commenting David!
      In this blog I have the chance to show images as a sequence and works much better than one by one.

  9. Mary says:

    It is all so wrong. Most of these guys look so young. Young and dying. If not physichally, in every other way they are. And it is so wrong that all that our society is able to do about it is trying to hide it, simply scattering and beating them. There is a similar area in my city too. During the week the disrepair, degradation and despair are quite hidden, because of the constant patrol from police cars and because of the work of the street cleaners. On sundays though it becames all dreadfully evident. From syringes and tourniquets left on the ground, to the evidence of people been sick, to the people still lying down or wandering in the street early in the morning.
    You took quite a risk taking these photos, they are certainly not safe photos, and this adds a lot of power and meaning to them. The tension in these images is palpable.
    Each image is gut wrenching. This is a strong, crude and masterly executed reportage.

    • Stamatis Gr says:

      What an amazing comment Mary! I could never thought that Bologna, Rome, Paris, London and so many beautiful and civilized cities have the same problem. Yet, they do have it! And it’s getting worse and worse everyday. Drugs, we very well know what happened back in the 60’s. Still, it’ the same. Young, radical, innovative, revolutionary minds are buried under a pile of drugs. And then, society shoves the corpses under the carpet…

  10. betharr says:

    for a moment I felt that the scene belongs to Sao Paulo.
    Sao Paulo has several places where they meet to practice their vices.
    These places are very dangerous, of course. ‘The hell’ you said. I agree.
    Well… your photo reportage and story are impressive.
    How you are so close and how your words transmit the anxiety!
    BIG courage to be acting.

    • Stamatis Gr says:

      It seems that every city all over the world has this kind of places. It’s sad that they exist, but we can’t just close our eyes and pretend they are not there.
      My images show everyday life. Unfortunately these scenes have become part of our lives.

  11. Sky2bleu says:

    Such misery, made worse through power in the hands of corrupt authority.
    Your painfully honest photographs capture the hopelessness of this reality.

    • Stamatis Gr says:

      Thank you very much for visiting and commenting.
      This scene took place in the very heart of the capital.
      Something to put someone in deep thoughts.

  12. Muthe says:

    I don’t know what to say. I only feel sadness when I saw this picture. Not angry, not disgust, only sadness 😦

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