Monthly Archives: October 2014

Rhodes island Greece

 

rhodes island greece

The island of Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese and is one of the most cosmopolitan of the Greek islands. Rhodes is a very popular international tourist destination and has direct flights to major European cities.

rhodes island greece

It is a large island and you will need several days to explore it. Although Rhodes is famous for its medieval Old Town which is one of the Unesco World Heritage sites, wherever you go on the island you will be dazzled by its extraordinary beauty.

rhodes island greece

What you most definitely should visit in Rhodes is the Castle town of Lindos, the special beauty of the area of Prasonisi, the Green Valley of the Butterflies and the 7 springs. As for the beaches in Rhodes you can find countless and for every taste. In recent years, Rhodes has emerged as a popular destination for extreme water sports.

rhodes island greece

The camera film

 

A short story

I was watching the boats ropes being untied from its bollard on the quayside, instructions were coming over the loudspeakers on the stern, in my camera only three frames from the last 36 film were left, in my wallet was enough money for a pack of cigarettes and a cup of coffee. Once again my summer vacation on a desolate Greek island was ending. The return journey back to the port of Piraeus would last more than 15 hours. My first concern was sleeping space. I was walking around the boat to find an appropriate space and at some point I found a nice corner next to a staircase. I laid out my sleeping bag and sat observing the people. After a few moments, I put the camera to my eye, but the thought that I was down to my last 3 frames made me put it down again. The boat departed and the Sun came into my frame and everything became wonderful silhouettes.

the film

I got up and made my way to the bar to buy some cigarettes and a coffee with the last of all I had left, should I take it now or maybe save it for later? Being absorbed by this profound thought I was blocking the queue so I moved away, hesitated and was about to go back (should I get the coffee finally?) but the people in the queue behind didn’t allow me to rejoin where I had left, I had to wait again… at the end of the queue. Turning around to take my place, I heard a female voice.

– Would you like me to get anything for you?

– Aah Thank you very much, a coffee with some milk.

– Frappe?

– Uhm… a Frappe, yes.

I must have looked very lost, both surprised and lost at the same time. After a while and with the coffee in my hand. We introduced ourselves to each other.

– Nadia.

– Takis. Thank you very much, how much did it cost?

– Please, my pleasure, it’s on me.

We started chatting, Nadia was also returning from her summer vacation back to Athens and back to work. I asked her to join me in my corner where my sleeping bag was to drink our coffee together. Time passed very pleasantly with her. Her voice had a warm character which I found very soothing.

 

– I am travelling with my friend, who I have left alone for quite a while. I should find her and we may catch up later for another chat.

– Go, I’ll be around here somewhere.

And she was gone. I began to play with the camera again. I lifted it to my eye, framed a shot, and back down again, the 3 last frames made ​​me hesitate. A person caught my attention; I had him in my sights for a very long time, snap… I got what I wanted, my remaining frames had became two now. I became restless and got up to go for a walk.

Wandering around I soon found something to relieve my boredom, a guitar. I mustered a smile and asked its owner if I could borrow it a while. I sat and started strumming the guitar. People began to gather around, Nadia came with her ​​friend, offerings in the form of beer and wine began to arrive and the atmosphere became warmer and warmer.

The man who kindly lent me the guitar was a member of a band whose members were all aboard the boat as they were returning from a summer job on the island. Slowly everybody began to join in with our little soiree’. We now had a bouzouki, an accordion, a toubeleki drum and a female singer. The company grew increasingly. I left the guitar for a little while in someone else’s hands, I wanted to eat and drink something from the many offerings… not to go wasted. I sat next to Nadia who was still singing, she had a wonderful voice. At some point she told me:

– I must find a place to sleep tonight.

– Why? Haven’t you found anywhere yet?

– No.

– Come with me then to my corner, there is plenty of room and we can fit easily.

– Really?

– Uhm… do you think that I am trying to fool you around?

– I am going to arrange it and come back again.

 

They gave me the guitar again. The feast continued. Nadia came back.

– All is good; I’ve set up my sleeping bag next to yours.

– “Lay your mattress for two, for you and for me …” I sang my reply.

– And when are you planning to go to bed, sir?

– Uhm… first I have to finish the repertoire, ma’am.

– Oh we are saved now! We will get to Piraeus and you will still be singing!

– Nah, just in a bit…

– Okay I’m going, I feel a bit sleepy…

– Okay I’ll come in a little while too…

But the mood of the people would not settle for “a little while” and a little while became two hours. I eventually went to lie down too. Nadia was already sleeping. I fell asleep looking at a little piece of heaven.

 

The next morning I woke up facing a beautiful smile and a coffee.

– Good morning, we will be arriving soon; we have enough time for a coffee.

– Good Morning!

– How long did ‘in a while’ last night?

– Hmm…

– What hmm, you think I am foolish? I told you that you would be singing until we got to Piraeus!

– We haven’t even arrived in Piraeus yet. Nadia, are you becoming a bit desirous?

– Yes I have, do you have a problem with that?

– No, not at all!

– I’m going to see how my friend is doing and I’ll be back. Wait for me and we’ll leave the boat together.

– Ok, I’ll be waiting for you.

– Are you going to take care of my sleeping bag?

– Yeah, I’ll pick it up, don’t worry.

– I’ll leave my bag here, don’t get lost!

– Not gonna happen.

I got up, picked up the sleeping bags and watched the people. I began once again to play with the camera, two more frames left, probably one; I will save one for Nadia. Nadia didn’t come back. I waited until the ship was empty. After a few years n Aegina island, I gave the sleeping bag away to a Dutchman whose own had been stolen. Inside her bag there were hair clips and a pocket camera 110, with a used film. I thought it would be too intrusive to have it developed. I would come across it from time to time whilst moving from one place to another. Sometime after 20 years, I finally decided to have it developed. I retrieved the photos but the colors were awful, a reddish tint dominated. There was me, in all of them. Just as I was at the age of 21, playing the guitar and singing with a smile surrounded by people, faces tanned by the summer, smiling. Some are fuzzy; in some I have red eyes from the flash… or perhaps maybe a glint of what could have been.

The first travel photographer

Pierre-Gustave-Gaspard Joly Lotbinière

The year 1839 was a milestone for Photography. That time  was in Paris a truly imaginative guy, Mr Pierre-Gustave-Gaspard Joly who had married a wealthy aristocrat in Canada and added to his name the surname of his wife, de Lotbinière.

Pierre-Gustave was an exceptional traveler for his time. His family was involved in the wine trade, and from his youth had traveled to different countries to find new markets and to make new agreements. First in Europe, from Switzerland where he was born, to France, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Russia, and across the Atlantic to South America,  the USA and Canada where in Montreal he met and married his wife Julie-Christine Chartier de Lotbinière.

athens first photos

In 1839 this well-traveled chap was in Paris planning a voyage to the Middle East. He learned about photography in Paris and the daguerreotype process that had just been announced to the French Academy of Science. Immediately, he supplied himself with all the necessary equipment by Noël Paymal Lerebours in order to take pictures of the antiquities of the places to which he would travel.

He arrived in Athens Greece via Malta and he was the first photographer to take photos of the Acropolis (The first photos of Athens). From there, he continued his journey on to Egypt and then to the Holy Lands, Syria and Turkey. On this trip he took 92 photos in total and some of them were published by Lerebours in his book ‘Excursions daguerriennes’ (1840-41) along with some others by the architect Hector Horeau in his book ‘Panorama from Egypt and Nubia’ (1841).

first travel photos

After this trip, it appears that he never took any more pictures again. The fascination with the invention of Photography led a lot of people to get involved in travel photography. Especially the French publishers, financed pionner photographers who had the desire to travel. The photos taken by Pierre-Gustave-Gaspard Joly in Athens, all suggest that they were the first travel pictures ever taken. On the journey that he continued after Greece he was accompanied by other photographers traveling in East for the same purpose. The first photographs of Athens and the Acropolis make Pierre-Gustave-Gaspard Joly the first travel photographer in the history of Photography.

Santorini island Greece

Santorini island Greece

Santorini is a unique Greek island in the Cycladic island group and indeed in the entire world. Santorini has a unique charm thanks to its particular style of architecture and the volcano which has formed the wonderful caldera. These have made Santorini one of the most popular travel destinations in Greece and around the world.

Santorini island Greece

Santorini is a travel photographer’s paradise as there is nothing on the island that does not deserve to be photographed. Although I love all the Greek islands Santorini remains my favorite.

Santorini island Greece

Apart from the volcano and the unique landscape Santorini  island has one of the most important prehistoric villages in the area of Akrotiri, while being famous around the world for its local products, mainly wine, fava beans and the Santorini tomato. Because Santorini is my favorite destination I will follow with many posts about the stunning island of Santorini so as to share with you its unique beauty.

Santorini island Greece

You can also read about Santorini island

The most beautiful island on the Planet Earth

Sunrise on Santorini Island

Lefkada island Greece

lefkada island greece

Lefkada is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea with a peculiarity. There is no need to board a boat to visit the island as it is well linked to the main land by a floating bridge.

lefkada island greece

The island became famous around the world during the decade of the 1960’s as the Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis bought a small island called Scorpio close to Lefkada, upon which he married Jacqueline Kennedy, the widow of the murdered US President John F Kennedy. Scorpio was recently purchased from the granddaughter of Onassis, by the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev for his daughter Ekaterina Rybolovleva.

lefkada island greece

Today Lefkada is a well developed tourist destination that stands out for its exceptional natural environment and its famous beaches, while in recent years it has become very popular for the enthusiasts of Wind and Kite surfing.

lefkada island greece

The first photos of Athens

In 1839 the year that Photography was invented, Pierre-Gustave-Gaspard Joly de Lotbinière arrived in Athens on the first stop of his trip to the Middle East and took some photos of the Acropolis. These photos are the very first photos of the Acropolis, the first pictures taken in Greece and everything shows that they are the first travel pictures ever taken by the first “travel photographer”.

athens first photos

Athens first photos October 1839

Unfortunately, none of the 92 original photos taken by Pierre-Gustave have been preserved from his trip to Greece, Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Turkey.

athens first photos

Athens first photos October 1839

The only ones that have survived and we know of nowadays are those which were printed in two books  ‘Excursions daguerriennes : vues et monuments les plus remarquables de globe – Daguerreotype Excursions: the world’s most spectacular views and monuments’ in which we can see some photos of the Acropolis and in the ‘Panorama d’Égypte et de Nubie avec un Portrait de Mèhemet-Ali et un text orné de vignettes – Panorama of Egypt and Nubia with a portrait of Mèhemet-Ali and a text illustrated with vignettes’  in which we can see some photos from Egypt.

The first depiction of Athens

The first images of Athens and the Acropolis and the first travel logs took a long time to be published in books. We should not forget that during the Middle Ages, Athens was just a small village with only the ancient ruins reminiscent of its former ancient glory. But who cared in those times? The Renaissance was the reason that the interest in antiquities had put the spotlight back on Athens, while the invention of printing made it ​​possible for the implementation and rapid spread of travel logs, drawings, engravings and later in the 19th century the photograph.

The truth is that the conquest of the Greek lands by the Ottoman Empire that ended after 1453 and the fall of Constantinople had made it quite difficult for westerners to travel to Greece. So most of the texts, maps and other representations of Greece and Greek antiquities – which seemed to be at the time the Eldorado of looters – was more of a tour in the texts of ancient authors,  the work of their imagination and their wishful thinking rather than the result of actual fieldwork. One of the first scientists with an interest in antiquity who actually travelled to Greece and whose logs and drawings made ​​a huge impression in Europe was Jacques Spon (1647-1685) who had studied as a doctor and was seen by others as a pioneer in the field of archeology but I would say that he was more of a pioneer in the pillaging of antiquities, together with his travel companion Sir George Wheler.

The first years that Athens began to draw the interest of travelers, painting and mapping were such difficult practices, requiring inspiration, talent and a lot of effort,  most of the authors and publishers just published books with information for Athens  by copying each other. Looking at the first published paintings, engravings and drawings  of Athens, I chose two to present to you due to their great interest – because they are the first realistic depictions of Athens and the Acropolis – and also because in my opinion either one of them is a copy of the other or both of them are alterations of a third, already existing drawing.

I present two drawings and one of my photos of modern Athens taken from about the same location where these first drawings were made and you can draw your own conclusions.

athens drawingCORONELLI, Vincenzo. Repubblica di Venezia p. IV. Citta, Fortezze, ed altri Luoghi principali dell’ Albania, Epiro e Livadia, e particolarmente i posseduti da Veneti descritti e delineati dal p. Coronelli, Venice, 1688. athens drawingFANELLI, Francesco. Atene Attica Descritta da suoi Principii sino all’ acquisto fatto dall’ Armi Venete nel 1687… Divisa in quattro parti. Con varieta di medaglie, ritratti, e dissegni, Venice, Antonio Bortoli, 1707.athens acropolis photo

Source of the drawings http://eng.travelogues.gr/

Let’s talk about Athens

Athens is the city in which I grew up and still live today. It is a city that according to all indications has been inhabited without interruption since the Neolithic Age; i.e. its prehistory can reach back as far as 10,000 years. Besides its ancient history, Athens became famous during the Classic era (508-322 BC) when achievements in the arts, literature, politics and philosophy became the basis of modern Western civilization.

athens b&w photos

Today Athens is a modern European metropolis with an excellent travel infrastructure. The new airport of Athens Eleftherios Venizelos which opened in 2001 is one of the best and safest airports in the world. While its port, the port of Piraeus is the largest port in Europe in passenger traffic.  The city of Athens also has a Metro which opened in 2000 and Trams that connect the city with the seafront, while in the historic center you can admire among others cultural landmarks such as the Acropolis and the Parthenon and also the brand new Acropolis Museum, which opened its doors in 2009 and is among the best museums in the World, while the Athens Archaeological Museum is the museum with the most extensive collections and the most important Greek antiquities in the World.

athens b&w photos

Athens is the capital city and the center of Greece in all sectors. Although many parts of Greece has direct connections with many countries around the world, the best way to travel anywhere in Greece is to first come and see Athens. Among the other features that Athens has to offer is the excellent climate with warm summers and mild winters, but above all (speaking from a photographer’s view) Athens has an excellent light. I will try mainly through my photos, but also through descriptions by travelers, poets and writers from around the world to offer you the authentic character of Athens, my city, that has been a source of inspiration for artists and intellectuals for more than 2500 years.

Do I have the word ‘Photographer’ stamped on my forehead?

In addition to the thousands of photos I have taken which I still keep on record, I have shot several hundred photos which I don’t own, photos that don’t belong to me, photos I have not ever seen. I don’t know why – but it’s as if I have the word ‘photographer’ stamped on my forehead – and wherever I used to travel I would always come across someone who would ask me to take a picture of them with their own camera, usually a family, a group of friends or a couple.

two couples serifos island

Two couples Serifos island Greece

So it was in this way that for the very first time a very good camera model that I had only seen in brochures came to be in my hands. I will never forget the Nikon F2 that I held in my hands one summer up on the Acropolis to take a shot of a couple with the Lycabettus in the background, closely followed by my first Leica on an excursion to Delphi, a Canon A1 in Epidaurus and my first Digital camera on the island of Poros. But the day that got me thinking about these occurrences was a particular summer day a few years ago on the island of Santorini.

a couple lefkada island greece

A couple Lefkada island Greece

From the early morning of that day, everyone was asking me to take a photo of them. By noon I had already started to say’ Okay’ and smile broadly at anyone approaching me with a camera. On the beach, at the archaeological site of Akrotiri and in Oia I considered it a reasonable request, but in the afternoon while having a coffee above the Caldera, I realised that this story would not have an end. With my companion I had begun to comment about it and we began laughing loudly. Later in a tourist souvenir shop when the owners asked me to take a photo of them with some of their customers, I realized that this thing was chasing me. At night in a bar while having a few drinks, I was just waiting patiently for the moment to come – which inevitably it did, quite quickly – somebody from a group of friends tapped me on the shoulder to take a shot of them as they were dancing. The night had passed and on my way back home I told myself that Ok, that’s it, no more for today.  When all of a sudden a car showed up out of nowhere, deep in the wilderness and a couple stepped out and gave me their camera, naturally and somewhat in a state of disbelief I took pictures of them with a flash, having nothing but the night as a background.

In recent years because of digital photography and the Internet, I have changed the way I deal with people who ask me to take a photo of them during my travels. Usually, I take pictures of them using my own cameras (which most of the time, nowadays, mine are way better than theirs) and I ask for their email address and send these photos back to them by email, so as I can keep on record all the photos that I have taken.

Serifos island Greece

serifos island photos

The island of Serifos is a Greek island in the western Cyclades with an area of ​​75 km2. Serifos is one of the most distinctive of the Cycladic islands. Livadi is its port, while Chora or the town of Serifos is the capital which is built on a high point of the island which in earlier times offered the inhabitants the necessary protection from pirate raids.

serifos island photos

Serifos during the 19th and 20th century was an area of ​​intense mining activity and signs of this activity are still scattered around the island. Arcade mines, rusted machinery, offshore loading of ore all of which creates a unique backdrop that makes Serifos a beautiful outdoor museum of industrial archeology.

serifos island photos

Among the particular characteristics of the island besides the picturesque town of Serifos with its white-washed houses are several churches and chapels that are scattered all over the island as well as the famous Castle-Monastery of the Archangels. Also, I should mention that on Serifos there are some of the nicest beaches in the Aegean.

serifos island photos