I got a very nice surprise all the way from Australia this morning. George Vardas, who is the cultural officer of the Kytherian Association of Australia (www.kythera-family.net) contacted me via Twitter and let me know of a really nice review he did about last year’s Kythera Photographic Encounters, in the association’s newsletter. In this review he was kind enough to mention some things about my work and include some of my pictures. He sent me the review and I thought I’d share it with you all.
Thank you George, for your kind words and for letting me know about this review, which made me a very happy girl today!
This image is the last one from the “Voyage to Kythera” series. It was taken in one of the island’s most famous beaches, Kaladi beach. It is a rather secluded beach, so I had to drive on dirtroads and climb down several stone steps to reach it, but its beauty is well worth it! Unfortunately, on the day I went there it was really windy and the sea was not so inviting, so I prefered not to take a swim. This beach actually consists of three smaller beaches, which are linked. There is even a cave that leads from the second to the third beach and that was the main reason I absolutely wanted to go. But I could only see the cave from the first beach, since the waves made it impossible for me to go there, even without my camera. This is how the cave looks. Inviting, isn’t it?
There was such wild beauty in this place, I loved it instantly! I would have loved to stay there and just stare at the sea, but as I said it was a secluded area and, except for a couple that defied the waves and was enjoying their swin, I was alone there so I got sppoked. I took some pictures and then I left, hoping I can someday return and pay a visit to that cave!
When I started editing my picture I realized I had made some mistakes while shooting, which could not easily be fixed and I got very disappointed. I thought about burying the pictures, but then I remembered how wonderful it felt to stand on that magnificent beach and I decided I wanted to share that. It might not be a masterpiece, but it brings back a nice memory for me and that is enough. Also, you might have noticed that the frame is not square this time! That’s a first for me, maybe it will happen again in the future, who knows?
The Kythera series is slowly (and painfully) coming to an end. The same day I was exploring the bridge of Katouni, I set to discover a way to reach an old english school I had read about, the school of Milapidea. After locating it from the road, I attempted to approach it through some very narrow streets where I could hardly drive my rental car. Until luckily I met an old man, who told me there was no road leading there (even though the school is mentioned as a very important monument of the island!) And that I would have to continue on foot. However, the road to the school was guarded by some not so friendly doggies who started to bark at me from a distance, so I decided to turn back feeling very disappointed.
το σχολείο της Μηλαπιδέας | the school of Milapidea
ο ανεμόμυλος | the windmill
A wrong turn led me in front of an abandoned windmill. It was at the end of a row of houses and it was standing there all alone and empty, so I stepped out of the car to take a look. Without much thought I decided to take some pictures. Where would I ever find a windmill all to myself?
I confess it was not easy, seeing as I had to set the camera at the mill’s entrance and then go up and down many, many times on the almost collapsed stairs, so I could get a nice frame. All this while I was barefoot and hoping no scorpions or snakes were around! However, it is a unique experience to be able to sit on top of a windmill and to feel absolute calmness and the cooling breeze. After I managed to get some good shots, I took some additional ones of the mill’s sides so I could fill my square frame and I left having completely forgotten the school I didn’t get to photograph.
I finally decided to complete my series from Kythera, where I traveled last September!
The bridge in Katouni, Kythera, was built during the island’s British domination and it’s the largest stone bridge ever built in Greece, with a length of 110m, height 15m and width 6m. It’s the biggest structure built by the Brits on the island and the construction was supervised by the island’s commander himself. Legend has it, that the commander had fallen in love with a local girl, so he decided to build the bridge under his own supervision so that he could see her more.
Let me clarify that the bridge is still being used to this day. That means that while I was running back and forth to get my shot, people were crossing above. And since it’s a monument some stopped for pictures too. Luckily there was not much traffic though!
The last few weeks have been really exhausting for me. I had to move into a new house, which means a lot of running around, packing, unpacking, carrying, cleaning, organizing and anything else that goes with settling into a new home. At last I think we have tied up our loose ends and we can finally start enjoying our new home. That includes me having some time for photography! I haven’t been out to shoot for ages and I miss it so much! Right now I am going to give priority to all my summer pictures that patiently await editing, while planning my next photoshoots. I still haven’t explored my new neighboorhood, but I am really happy that I have an endless view from my balcony which means I can shoot clouds and birds from the comfort of my own home! That’s a big deal!
This picture is another one taken in Kythera while I was there for my exhibition with the Greek Young Photographers. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I cherished my time there, because it felt as if I had the whole island to myself. This feeling was particularly strong when I visited the old watermills. It is a small canyon, submerged in beautiful nature, where dozens of watermills used to be in the old days. There is a hiking path you can follow, that takes you along this amazing scenery. Even though I wasn’t prepared for a hike (I was wearing a dress and sandals!), I started walking along the path, drawn by the beauty and calm of the surroundings. I ended up in this spot where the stream created small waterfalls that poured into calm little ponds. There was not a single sound. Only the water endlessly flowing.
I wanted to capture the water flow, so I had to use a long exposure time. That however meant that I had to be completely still during the exposure, which can prove to be rather hard when you are standing in ice cold water practically barefoot. After a couple of test shots and some breath holding, I managed to get the result I wanted. In post, I expanded my frame using an extra shot I had taken and I tweaked the colors so i could give the image a more nostalgic feel. What inspired me most about this place was the contrast between its very busy past, being a place full of life and activities with all those watermills that were vital to the island, and its very quiet present, that I was lucky enough to experience. A place that’s been forgotten by people, but that is still alive in its own way.
After taking the picture I decided not to go any further, because not only did I not have the proper clothes and shoes on for the hike, but I also had no cell reception, nobody knew where I was and there was not a single soul around, so I got scared that if anything were to happen to me, no one would know where to find me! That thought was really frightening, so I headed back with a heavy heart, knowing I was missing out on the great beauty that lied ahead. I think this was my favorite spot in the whole island and if I ever manage to visit it again, the watermills are the first place I’m going back to, with proper shoes and some company however!
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Time for another picture from Kythera. This one was taken on my last day there. I was driving around exploring parts of the island where I hadn’t been yet, when I arrived at the island’s port, Diakofti. As I was driving down towards the village, I spotted this shipwreck. I remembered reading somewhere about it, but I had completely forgotten about it. The moment I saw it from above, I was more than excited! The sky was full with beautiful clouds, it was windy and the light was perfect. I drove as close to the shipwreck as I could, and got out of my car.
The area was completely empty, there wasn’t a single soul to be seen. This can be a little frightening, but at the same time so liberating! I set my tripod and camera and then I realized I had left my remote in the car. I decided to just use the 10 second timer, which proved to be more difficult than I imagined. You see, I was standing on what appears to be some kind of salt formation. There were even some signs that informed people not to damage the salt. Setting the tripod was a challenge on its own, but running back and forth on that kind of terrain was completely ridiculus! Well in the end I managed to focus correctly and I got a couple of shots that I really liked. Of course, by the end I really regretted not going back to the car to get the remote! Lesson learned.
At first I couldn’t choose between the two poses. I liked both of them for different reasons. When I asked my boyfriend for his advice, he proposed I combine them and so I did. I think having them both in the picture adds to the mystery. And these clouds… I can’t get over how beautiful they were that day!
I still have sooo many pictures to edit. I am going to take it slowly, while my calendar gets filled with all sorts of obligations. Oh well, if only there were more hours in a day, right?
I’m back from Kythera, where I participated in the Young Photograhers Exhibition, a part of the Kythera Photographic Encounters. The event lasted three days and it included a number of exhibitions and also a photography convention. I have to admit my visit there did not live up to my expectations for a number of reasons, but it was a valueable experience nonetheless and I got to explore the island and make a few new pictures.
The following picture was taken near a waterfall that is called “Neraida”, which actually means fairy, or “Fonissa”, which means murderess. I am not quite sure about the origin of those names, but the place was really beautiful and immersed in nature. When I got there, there was no one else around except one guy sitting in a bench and drinking a beer by the waterfall. I snapped a couple of pictures there and then I decided to further explore the area. I walked around and I discovered some stairs leading up to the road. There were a few abandoded buildings there and as I was wandering on my own, it felt as is the place was haunted. I stopped and set up my tripod and then I started my usual weirdness. I believe this image fully demonstrates the feeling I got while I was there.
I have many pictures that await editing and I’ll do my best to edit them as soon as I can, although I am currently searching for a new home to move into, which is proving to be challenging. Don’t forget to like my facebook page, to receive all my updates!
A few days before my summer holidays started, I decided to submit my photos to some art festivals, hoping that I might have a chance to show my work. After all, taking part in an exhibition was one of my goals for this year, so I had to pursue it at some point. One of those submissions was the chocolate themed contest that I already talked about. By chance I happened upon the Kythera Photographic Encounters that had made a call for artists to submit their work for the 13th Young Greek Photographers exhibition. Apparently this is an event that has been held every year since 2002, but this was the first I heard about it. I decided to submit my portfolio, although I did not have high hopes for this.
I was wrong. A few days later I received a phone call informing me that some of my images were selected for the exhibition! My excitement was beyond words! I thought I didn’t have a chance, I almost didn’t submit and I was completely wrong! That proved to me that you should never say no to an opportunity, however slim you think your chances are. If I had decided that I was not good enough to submit, this would never have happened.
Kythera Photographic Encounters 2014
The event includes many photographic exhibitions and even a convention about photography in Greece, so it is going to be really interesting to attend! It will take place from the 25th until the 28th of September and one of the seven photographers participating in the Young Greek Photographers exhibition will be given an award and the opportunity to have a solo exhibition next year. Wow! For me this is a big win, even if I am not awarded, it is such a great honour and an amazing opportunity which I am very grateful for.