April 14, 2014 /
Portraits from Peloponnese - Photography Project for "Taxidia"
This time, I had the opportunity to shoot what may be the most diverse region of Greece, the Peloponnese. This photographic journey, or rather the “travelogue” for Kathimerini newspaper’s Travel supplement “Taxidia“, allowed me to learn about a rare aspect of my country during what is perhaps the most beautiful and at same time serene time of year for a traveller. Many of the images feature the discrete presence of people in the foreground; portraits that describe the characters themselves in relation to the place where they live and work.
Traveling in Peloponnese
Travelling in the Peloponnese is like a journey through history in a motion parallel to the sea, with the Greek horizon as the destination. My fellow traveller on this journey was Kyriaki Vassalou, travel editor of Kathimerini. Endless beaches, mountain villages, fortified towns, picturesque harbours, farm lands, rivers and caves all lie along the way, waiting to be discovered, to offer hospitality and enjoyment, asking only for your respect in return. Behind every stop, there are myriad differences in geography and culture. Though the towns are located a relatively short distance apart, a week is enough to absorb the experiences and particularities that make each one unique.
Ancient Epidaurus, Palamidi and the view over the island of Bourtzi in Nafplio are the gateway to any trip to the Peloponnese. The route is made up of countless traditional settlements like Leonidio, full of manor houses and cultivated lands. Then there are the mountain villages like Kosmas at the foot of Mt Parnonas, surrounded by fir trees, giving way to the seaside villages: Poulithra, Stoupa, Kardamyli and Vathia in the Mani region overlook the sea, each so different that travelling through them is effortless and interesting.
Then there is the journey back in time, as one enters the walls of Monemvasia, with the spirit of poet Yannis Ritsos bidding you welcome, before continuing to the fortified towns of Mani and the three seaside castles of southwestern Messinia – Pylos, Methoni and Koroni. Then it’s back to the present, after a boat tour of the Caves of Diros. A must-stop for a break and some sustenance are the picturesque and romantic seaside harbours of Gythio and Gerolimenas.
I saved two stops for the end, where time and thought come to a standstill and perfect peace and happiness flood through you. The tranquility of Gialova Lagoon, where even if you are alone, you feel as if you are intruding on someone – perhaps the flamingoes. And just before returning, a stop at Cape Tenaro, the southern-most tip of continental Greece, where you have the sense of being at the edge of the world as your soul fills with silence.
The Peloponnese portraits
The main elements of the photographic journey of the Peloponnese were the people. In addition to the geographic and cultural wealth of the region, its people make up an important human geography that links past, present and future. It is life and communication with the people that reveal the unique qualities of each place and help you to understand it. Genuine, hospitable people – farmers, fishermen, animal breeders, priests, tourists and tourism professionals, trekkers, students, artists –all contribute to the beauty of the landscape in the Peloponnese.