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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.

A travel tribute about Cretan life, food and gastronomy for Gastronomos Magazine.

Cretan Food & Culture

A travel tribute about Cretan life, food and gastronomy culture for Gastronomos Magazine. With the travel and food editor Nena Demetriou, we crossed over Rethymno mountains, covering the cretan life through the people of small local productions, like farmers, cheese & honey makers, shepherds and many other people that in open heart, generosity and hospitality, made us feel Crete like our home. Some of the published portrait photographs and moments from this food & travel tribute is following.

 


Roadtrip To North India

The bridge between fantasy and experience is accessibility. By Leaving your familiar convenient and safe habitat environment behind you, you open yourself to the new, unknown, transforming it into experience and knowledge.

The roadtrip lasted nine days. Starting point was the capital of India, New Delhi and the first destination was Jaipur in the 300 km. Third stop, after 600 miles was the city Dharamsala at Himalayas and final, Talnu village at 2,500 meters altitude. Many hours, a lot of patience ... You learn how to get through without your everyday safety like cleanliness, drinking water, food, bathroom and comfortable sleep .

If you really want to apprehend India, you have to close your eyes and open your heart. None of what you see is translated through the logical process. Nothing is based on the logical process we are familiar in as residents of the western world. Images, smells, sounds and feelings infest in you through the senses , transcend the mind and enter unfiltered deep in your heart and your cells. Most Indians remains intact by the consumer mantle, with the needs of the population limited on basics like rice, water, flour, handmade dyed clothes and a rudimentary shelter. For this reason the Indians are still in their purest condition without being affected by economic, political and social forces . They have learned to be fulfill and happy with minimum quality of life instead of civilized Westerners, who daily we sell out our friendships, families and ethics ​​for a better salary, a better car and a " better life."

The jobs are also in their primary form. Nothing more than necessary to do their job . Lifestyle hasn’t yet entered in their life. You feel the reality , the truth without any doubt.

Even before my trip , I had decided to shed any greedy photography making process. To shed the photographer who hunts to create images of misery in order to provoke and excite. I chose to pick up my camera in front of charm, authenticity, uniqueness and beauty. I chose to depict the atmosphere , textures, colors, light. In the foreground, what else, People ... Vibrant, colorful Portraits like ghostly forms with no logical explanation where they came from and where they going. Many times motionless for hours, as if they had been homogeneous by the environment around them or never removed from that.

I would like to say a big thank you from my heart to those full of hospitality and kindness people I shared this valuable experience. Without them the trip would not be as important, safe and beautiful as it was! Many blessings and love to Anurag, Punnit, Jessee and above all Dimitri .

roadtrip india photographer

Milan Residents

Everyone of us, traveling as visitor in different cities and places across the world, we are used to searching for sight signs in every city we visit. Milan is not like this… Milan is not the Italian city that will give you big sight sings except from the main square with Milan Cathedral (Duomo).

If I can give a description to Milan, is the city of details. There is so much hidden beauty in the Italian city of Milan… Details In tastes, in services, in people kindness, in fashion, instyle, in deco and design, in ideas and many many more that you have to be very curious and well educated about the city to be able to make your own exploration.

Milan residents are same like their city. There is kindness in them dressed by a unique style. That was what I wanted to have in their portraits photos from my recent trip as a portrait photographer for some days in Milan for the travel tribute of Taxidia Magazine of Kathimerini News. I have to say a big thanks to the travel editor Kiki Vasalou for the great and well-targeted preparation of our trip to Milan. It was a very nice experience for a portrait photographer in a city that I could live in… My favourite Milan residents Portraits follows…

 

 


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Lost in Istanbul for Gastronomos Magazine

Istanbul or “Constantinople” is the combination of civilizations had passed and lived in all the previous centuries. But its not only up to the level of culture. Its a combination as well as geomorphological that spreads from one side to the other of the city. The city expresses this diversity in every corner of every street from Taksim Square and the commercial Insitklal to Galata Bridge and the unique atmosphere of Bosphorus. From the neighbourhoods of Pera and Sisli to the Phanar and the Patriarchate. If you want to go even further with your soul and your body the boat to Chalcedon is there, waiting for you to transfer to the depths of  East … The uniqueness of Istanbul is that all the images in every corner of the city, complemented by a incessant stimulation of all senses. The prayers “Adnan” of the Imam, the smells of the market and the spices … Brings you to another level giving you a multi-dimensional experience.

The ultimate expression of the trip in Istanbul are the markets and the Bazaar! There are so many “images” and so relief, that the Grand Bazaar will make you get lost in it across of the 58 streets. In every exit you choose you have the chance to enjoy one of the city’s sights and observe its architecture … Agia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the “New Mosque” are the three main characteristics that describe architectural Istanbul and delimit Bosphorus. I left for last the unique experience of the Hammam… The discription with a single word is “ritual“ and a combination of all the above in a physical and mental purification procedure…  The trip was for the Christmas tribute of Gastronomos magazine in cooperation with journalist Nena Demetriou.

or “Constantinople” is the combination of civilizations had passed and lived in all the previous centuries. But its not only up to the level of culture. Its a combination as well as geomorphological that spreads from one side to the other of the city. The city expresses this diversity in every corner of every street from Taksim Square and the commercial Insitklal to Galata Bridge and the unique atmosphere of Bosphorus. From the neighbourhoods of Pera and Sisli to the Phanar and the Patriarchate. If you want to go even further with your soul and your body the boat to Chalcedon is there, waiting for you to transfer to the depths of  East … The uniqueness of Istanbul is that all the images in every corner of the city, complemented by a incessant stimulation of all senses. The prayers “Adnan” of the Imam, the smells of the market and the spices … Brings you to another level giving you a multi-dimensional experience.

The ultimate expression of the trip in Istanbul are the markets and the Bazaar! There are so many “images” and so relief, that the Grand Bazaar will make you get lost in it across of the 58 streets. In every exit you choose you have the chance to enjoy one of the city’s sights and observe its architecture … Agia Sophia, the Blue Mosque and the “New Mosque” are the three main characteristics that describe architectural Istanbul and delimit Bosphorus. I left for last the unique experience of the Hammam… The discription with a single word is “ritual“ and a combination of all the above in a physical and mental purification procedure…  The trip was for the Christmas tribute of Gastronomos magazine in cooperation with journalist Nena Demetriou.