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People of Spetses talk about Spetses

For the portrait photography published on the tribute in Taxidia Magazine Kathimerini, I have traveled to Spetses Island with the editor Eleftheria Alavanou. Five people from Spetses introduce us to the beautiful island of Argosaronicos from their own point of view.

Artist, 30 years old, studied visual arts in Amsterdam, lives in her great-grandfather's house near Analipsi. In the summer she works at the Baraka gallery, in the winter she is busy with her own artistic work, fishing and walking in nature. Eva Vassiliou is one of the five locals who help us get to know the island of Regatta and Armata through another lens. All of them have seen the Spetses of the four seasons: from the fever of summer to the undisturbed quiet of winter. All of them have a substantial relationship with Spetses, because their lives are connected to the basic materials from which the island is made: the sea, the landscape, history, the people who marked it, art. Everyone, in short, knows them deeply.

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Visual artist Eva Vassiliou studied in Amsterdam and now spends a large part of her time on the island where she grew up.
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The Mermaid, one of Natalia Mela's sculptures, in the old port.

Portrait photography of the tribute includes a selection of different characters that are residents on the Island of Spestes. Grigoris Katsouranis, with more Augustus on his back, but with similar energy, since he is evergreen and energetic like a little kid. Mr. Grigoris is one of the few craftsmen who know the art of shingle in Spetses, a "difficult job", because "you have to sit down for eight hours laying shingles", resulting in pain in the knees, hands and back you. Despite the effort, a craftsman can in eight hours make a 2 m2 pebble, often on a marine theme, such as boats, mermaids, fish, dolphins, octopuses, although there are more strange, as a belfry or a breeches in a fez. To a certain extent, however, there is a recycling of the subject matter in the designs ("we resurrect the old ones"), which probably contributes to the aesthetic harmony, limiting the dissonances. The nice thing about pebbles is that they decorate both the public space and the houses, in other words they express the Spetsian society as a whole, but also the Spetsian landlord. In personal time, when he is not busy with pebbles or other tasks, Mr. Grigoris usually goes to the Cafe to drink evening coffee. Not meraklidiko Greek with cream, as I expected him to tell me, but an iced Fredo espresso. He swims with his wife in Agia Marina, attends church in Analipsi, spends the summers at his home in Kokkinaria and the winters at his house in Dapia.

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Grigoris Katsouranis is one of the most experienced pebble stone craftsmen on the island.

The custodian of another traditional art, which is also identified with Spetses, is Pantelis Korakis, a second generation ship carpenter, who owns one of the island's seven tarsanas, in the old port. Pantelis has spent his entire life in Spetses, with the only break being when he joined the army. He began learning at the age of 10-12 with his father, who represented an older generation of shipwrights who believed that art was not taught, but stolen. "If you caught it, you caught it. That was the mentality of the old ones." Tarsana was named after him 23 years ago. The distance from his house is two minutes by motorbike and his daily working life includes an open-air workshop in front of the sea, with discarded wood, geese coming and going, himself barefoot and behind him a dog without a name, who follows him everywhere, even when he gets inside the boats. People come, his sister makes coffee, his friends show up, drink a beer, leave. The place looks like a coffee shop. "All traditional tarsanas are coffee shops," he tells me. They are also places of hard work, however, since Pantelis repairs and builds wooden scaffolding, using the designs he inherited from his father. It deals with, among others, amateur or professional fishing boats and holiday boats staying in Spetses. "A wooden boat is like a friend. It's not impersonal, a lot of people have worked on it." He himself has a 9-meter trachantiri, "Agia Marina", which he built a few years ago with his own hands.

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Pantelis Korakis, second generation ship carpenter.
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The landscape in the old port is varied, since the tarsanades coexist with galleries, bars, restaurants

Miaranda Markou, I imagine that she loves the sea very much, since he works next to it, by it and for it. But there is a Spetsiotissa who I think loves her more or in a different way. Miranda Markou is thirteen and a half years old, a 2nd High School student. As a child, he used to go swimming at Scholes beach, below the Nautiko Omilo, and he would watch the boats dock. "I liked it all and decided to start sailing." She was not six years old, but she was drawn to the sea and the freedom of the sport. Started with bug, moved to optimist and now has a laser. Listening to her talk about the positives of the laser as a boat, her desire to go to Piraeus to see the Olympiakos sailing academy, and that she has heard very good things about the Aegina club, I think how much of a… vitamin that is for a teenager dealing with the sea in winter and summer and not with the computer, how firmly the character and self-confidence are built when he learns to command a boat from a young age. And above all, how nice it is to be thirteen and a half years old, to live on a small Greek island, to live in the middle of nowhere, in the city, but outside of Dapia, and your means of transportation to school, friends and your group is by electric skate, on foot or on your parents' motorbike.

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Η Μιράντα Μάρκου ασχολείται με την ιστιοπλοΐα εδώ και επτά χρόνια.

In the portrait photographs except the people, one can see the diversity of the Island. Spetses, however, is identified with another captain, older, a woman who far exceeded the limitations imposed by society on her gender, after becoming "the first female admiral in world naval history", as Pavlos Demertzis-Boumboulis tells us for Laskarina Bouboulina, great-grandmother of his great-grandfather. Pavlos is 33 years old, a modern man, without a dress or tsarouchia, but who carries a heavy, distant and at the same time familiar name. A name that would have been lost from his family had it not been for the intervention of his grandfather, Christos Demertzis, husband of Euphrosyne nee Bouboulis, who "with an official request to the Ministry of the Interior requested that Bouboulis be added to his son's name, that is to say my father, lest he perish. That's how we have both surnames, Demertzis-Boumboulis". What is it like growing up on the island of Bouboulina with that last name? "When I was a kid, it wasn't that easy. First of all, we grew up with a museum over our heads. They chased me at school to do every play, to say every poem.

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Pavlos Demertzis-Bouboulis at the Bouboulina Museum.

Growing up, I understood what Bouboulina is, what it means to the whole world and what duty I have towards this name." Pavlos, together with his mother and siblings, is in charge of the Bouboulina Museum, which is housed in the captain's mansion. He spends the summers on the island, the winters between Spetses and Athens. "September and October are beautiful months in Spetses. In winter it's us and the cats, which of course has a beauty, the island still smells of pine and thyme". As for the museum, it remains closed during the winter months. Bubulina is sleeping. Until next summer when the island wakes up, she will wake up too, and she will come to life for another year through the stories of her descendants.

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In the captain's museum, the amazing ceiling stands out.

In recent years, Spetses was marked by two people. The first is Boubulina. The second is Sotirios Anargyros (1849-1928), a Speciotian immigrant who made a huge fortune abroad. Its history and its relationship with the island cannot be described here, they need a book. Among many other things, Anargyros created the Anargyrio and Korgialenio School (which functioned as a college until the 1980s), reforested Spetses, which had been deforested for logging and farming, envisioned and built Posidonio, one of the most beautiful hotels of Greece, which in 2014 turned 100 years old. Since 2009 it has been renovated by the Bordonis family. As Mr. Manolis Vordonis mentions, Anargyros protected it, ensuring that it cannot be sold by the Anargyriou Foundation or change its use beyond that of the hotel. For the plans, Anargyros and his architect traveled to the south of France, took images and ideas from the resorts of the French Riviera and transferred them to the beach of Spetses. Seeing it today, restored to the original standard, one is bewildered by the strange beauty of a landmark that has something foreign and yet something so peculiar. Painted in light tones, with turrets and columns, the Poseidon combines influences and currents. The main thing that differentiates it from the luxury accommodations of today is that it is not of pharaonic size. The entrance, the living room, the garden, the pool are made on a human scale so as a guest you feel comfortable. Passing through the outer door of Poseidonio, you feel that someone is waiting for you inside.

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Poseidonio's architecture is inspired by the French Riviera resorts of the early 20th century.
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Mr. Manolis Vordonis is the soul of Poseidonio.
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The Anargyreios and Korgialenios School of Spetses (AKSS) is a symbol of an era of blossoming and prosperity of the island.
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Two great figures of Spetses meet: Bouboulina from the hands of Natalia Mela.

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Eleytheria Deco for Kappa Magazine

In this portrait photography I was pleased to meet and work with one of my favourite greek artists, the lighting designer Eleytheria Deco. I knew Eletheria's Deco work since 2004 when she awarded with EMI award for the light design of the Olympic Games ceremony "Athens 2004 Olympics".

Since then and due to our common interest, "light" ("phos", greek word for light and first synthetic work for photo-graphy) , I have been watching her works with great interest. She has an open field of design like theaters, festivals, museums, public spaces, events and architectural lighting projects. The special thing with her works is that sometimes it is like she has a signature and gives you a feeling that you can identify her aesthetic.

Her recent work was the light design of Acropolis. The new lighting will highlight nine points of the ancient monument: the Acropolis hill, the walls, the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Temple of Athena Nike, the Erechtheion, the Theater of Dionysus, the Stoa of Eumenes and the Sanctuary of Dionysus. As the Culture Ministry underlines, for the first time the choragic monument of Thrasyllos, the Asklepieion of Athens, the caves of Apollo and Aglauros, and the Sanctuary of Aphrodite, will all be illuminated.

It was great pleasure of meeting and work with her for this portrait season for her interview in Kappa Magazine of Kathimerini newspaper. Her portraits published on 19-12-2020.

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Dr Manolis Korres

It is always interesting to taking portraits of scientists. Through my experience, I have realised that many of them of them are same open and expressive just like artists. Dr Manolis Korres is one of them.

He was chief architect of the Acropolis Restoration Project, and in that position he directed the study of the construction techniques and materials used on its historic buildings. Dr. Korres worked on the Acropolis Restoration Project for more than 20 years and has published over 11 books and 100 articles on the subject. He holds a doctorate in architecture and engineering from the Freie Universität Berlin and is now a professor at the National Technical University of Athens.
His photoshoot for Blue Magazine of Aegean Airlines took place at the National Archaeological Museum.

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