- Once a month, this column will feature a shot by a professional or an amateur photographer who has been routinely photographing the island and thinks that deserves to be shared
It seems like it’s been ages since the moment I pressed the button. Still, it was only late September when I was hanging out with my friend Alekos at his place in Chios. It is definitely a special house not only because it is filled with memories but because it also happens to be one of those imposing Kambos mansions, with small turrets made of Thimiana rocks, with the orchards and the balconies entrenched behind those towering walls. Up here, no one can see you, yet you can see everything – or, at least, having an eye in the sky and getting at things from the inside gives you a strategic advantage.
If you could ever come to the island with me, I would definitely take you there to show you what I’m talking about; putting your feet up out on the balcony while gazing down at the vast olive groves and citrus trees, the confusing maze of Kambos alleyways as well as the unscathed view of the stars in the sky, from east to west; feeling that largeness offered in spades. An unprecedented experience that gives rise to a feeling of vigor and freedom.
I walked past this balcony many times, but where my line of sight stopped tonight was a red plastic bag – sheer trash, that is – carried away by the breeze and ending up wrapped around a brick to the side of a caper bush, one of those wild and self-sustainable ones, determined to survive and work their way out of the rocks; and they make it. It was one of these afternoons that slowly give way to that caressing velvety twilight which I never cease to enjoy as it tapers off. And though I always end up wishing for it to last a little longer, that’s not possible. It’s the same story with late September, this specific period of the year, this textbook case of transition that makes the tiniest thing look significant. This is when I cherish those trips to Chios more, when my birthplace and I get to put our loneliness together.
All these wound up compounding to something new, almost transcendental, that only came into existence because I saw it that way. Like a random “project”, fugacious, totally authentic, devoid of a creator or (further) spectators, having no intention of sparking off the observer’s emotions or feelings. “Here, take my eyes and see it” (said in the local dialect). Does it really matter? If I define it, it will be like confining it, customizing it, whereas its true essence lies in the recipient. It’s all about what you can see, what is triggered inside you – provided there is something, obviously. That’s why even coming up with a title usually gives me a hard time.
If someone has left a mark on the way I approach photography, it has to be my tutor, Nikos Dimolitsas, thanks to the love and the way he guided me through the photography greats; among them, I’ve always singled out Kertesz, the reason being that he could take something utterly insignificant and turn it into something superb, poetic, immortal. One could caption his photos in practically every way possible – or completely fail to do so. At least, it is left to choice.
Owing perhaps to Fotis Kangelaris’ impact on me, photos to me always embody someone’s unique frame of reference on an immovable, given spacetime. It is an entirely personal matter, where your infinity interacts with outer infinity. Conniving in it are light, someone’s outlook, motion, form, influences, moments – they too are infinite. An elusive meeting between the conscious and the unconscious that cements in time. It could be said that this is the im-print of the very existence, which either establishes a rapport – shares, if you wish – or not.
Translated to English by Nikos Loutraris