Portraits of prominent Greeks in the U.S.
Maria Gianna was born and grow up in Athens. She got her first degree from the Tufts University in Massachusetts (USA) where she studied International Relations / History of Art, and then she returned to Athens for her MBA at Athens Laboratory of Business Administration (ALBA College of Business Administration).
By the end of her studies she worked as Marketing Executive at Kraft Foods and at the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games “Athens 2004”. From the university she had discovered her love for photography, so right after the Olympics she returned to America and attended two years of photography courses in International Center of Photography in New York. «Portraits of Prominent Greeks in the USA» is her first book she wrote while she was working as a freelance photographer.
The reason for the existence of that book was an article she read on a newspaper concerning very successful Greek-Americans, and it was stimulating her interesting while she was studying photography in New York in 2007. A few months later, in December 2007 she began this project and completed in April 2010, by the printing of the book.
It took 18 months travelling between Greece and America, and a trip to Paris, and countless domestic flights in the United States. She travelled to 15 states and 28 cities in America, and she spent countless hours in planes, trains and rental cars.
She met separately each person presented in her book, either at their home or in their workplace, with or without their family. She went alone to the appointments without an assistant, and did an interview and then she was shooting the pictures. As she says in the ellines.com, «everyone was very friendly with me and simple – they were accepting me delighted.»
The book provides a unique record of successful current members of the Greek Diaspora in the USA which will inspire its readers. What gives even greater importance to the details of the book is the timing that it was released. In such a difficult time internationally, in which the value of the Greeks is disputed, nothing can animate us the most than the vivid and vibrant picture of modern Greeks conquered the larger offices in enormous countries like America, where competition is strong but the field to win opportunities remains open.
Maria Gianna managed to convince the elite of the Greek community like Michael Dukakis, John Negroponte, George Stephanopoulos, Peter Peterson, Nia Vardalos, not only to agree to participate in the book, but also to pose to her lens. With the directness, enthusiasm and professionalism she has managed to capture the truth behind the sparkling smile and mysterious eyes.
The presentation of distinguished scientists, politicians, journalists, businessmen, actors, artists and others, gives the reader a chance to know the lives of people who have succeeded through hard work and dedication to their goals. They are living representatives of the «American Dream» who also have not forgotten their Greek roots.
Each personality is presented through a four-page tribute including photographic portraits, documents as well as biographical text which is based on interviews given by the same people who are included in this version.