Sunday, May 16, 2010

“Tranquility, simplicity, humbleness, no bragging or arrogance"


Recently I posted this amazing photograph by Stratis Vogiatzis and many commented on how much they loved it. Visiting the wonderful blog of Pia Jane Bijkerk last week I was delighted to see that she had actually taken the time to really explore the background of this photographer having found his work on several other sites around the same time. That seems to be one of the blessings of the blogosphere - the way different people feature a subject and perhaps bring to light a different angle. 

NB: Click to enlarge this image and text for reading or see below!

These images all are from the photographer's book "Inner World".  You can read more on this photographer at YATZER as well as at the photographer's website.

Text form Yatzer:

Mastihohoria (Mastic Villages) is a series of photographs by Stratis Vogiatzis dedicated to the villages of the Greek island ofChios, which is famous for the production of mastic, a resin obtained from the mastic tree known as the "tears of Chios". His book “Inner World”, published in 2009, unveiled the amazing world of those traditional villages that once based their whole existence on the valuable crystal “tear”, shed every year by the infamous mastic trees.

Stratis Vogiatzis is a Greek photographer born in Chios. Self-taught and talented, he has been working as a freelance photographer since 2003 engaging himself in various projects both in Greece and abroad. He has covered stories in Kosovo, India, Beijing, Morocco, Iran and Palestine, among other places, always showing an interest in refugees, NGOs and minorities. His studies on political and social sciences and his volunteer work in different places around the world go hand in hand with his projects as a photographer. In 2003 he participated in the photography book on Kosovo refugees, published by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [UNHCR].

Mastihohoria” is a different project taking into consideration Stratis Vogiatzis’s bond with the island. Looking closely at his photos one can sense the emotional power of a photographer who is looking back into time and space of the abandoned villages of his own birthplace. The journey for the completion of the project might have lasted for 2.5 years, but it transcends the sense of an ongoing lifelong journey between the photographer and the Mastic Villages. His photographic journey into the inner world of the Mastic Villages was not only a journey of images, colour and light. It was a journey into his own inner world; a world of memories.

From the artist himself:
“My wandering into the inner world of the Mastic Villages also meant wandering into my own inner world, a dive into the world of memories and history and at the same time a plunge into the depths of my own soul”.
Stratis Vogiatzis

Stratis Vogiatzis himself describes the whole project as a mystic experience. At the beginning, however, his approach was simply architectural. Gradually the colours of these villages amazed him, evoking his senses. He was overwhelmed by the energy, peoples’ stories and by the objects’ souls. A meditative aspect was ascribed to the photographic procedure, as he remained in some houses for hours until the right moment for the right “click” arrived.

As Stratis Vogiatzis says “I could still feel the people, their presence and their stories which were crammed into the corners of every room and even though the people were absent, they declared their presence in an intense and at the same time mystical way”. There is an erotic relationship between objects and time. Most of the times that Stratos tried to move objects in order to achieve the best possible photographic results, he ended up to their original place in their perfect, almost primordial order.
Every room in this album is a portrait of its owner.

In the introduction of the "Mastihohoria-innerworld" book, Giorgos Pittas wrote:
Tranquility, simplicity, humbleness, no bragging or arrogance, emerge from Stratis’s photographic world, thus conveying to us a message, which is crystal clear.”
This quote by Pittas I have used in part as the title of this post. The text above all comes via the Yatzer site. 


isabelle said...

just beautiful ...

Sophie Munns said...

Thank you Isabelle!
I enjoyed my visit to poland through your blog earlier I must say!

Mlle Paradis said...

lovely post sophie! and the colors are similar to your flip flop post! hmmm!

Sophie Munns said...

Hello MP!
I could not resist adding the text with some more images... being once upon a time a true Grecophile! (clearly its still in the blood!)
Funny you should link the colours...I saw the last photos on the post and the adjacent sidebar image of seed forms and thought how influential those 4 months in Greece were all those years ago... for the very elements contained in the photographer's work.
Something of that sensibility managed to transfer itself to me despite my foreignness and comparatively shallow relationship with place.
thank you Mlle P for the great link to the homage story on your weekend post!

em said...

sophia, i wish someone talented like this would come help me with the colors in my house! i liked that photo the first time i saw it, and i like the other also!

Sophie Munns said...

They are something I agree Em. To get that patina...and to know what is in these paints - how they are made - would be interesting.

angela said...

what a wonderful find, thanks Sophie.It's great to see the traditional village interiors/style... I wonder how much is really left? My grandparents on both sides were from Greece originally. In the early 70s my parents took me to visit a friend of my grandmother's near Athens. Her house was a beautiful old whitewashed building with a little courtyard and garden. Three years later we went back to visit and she and her husband proudly showed off this garish marble 3-story affair they had built on the site of the old house.
I was all of 8 but I was devastated..

Sophie Munns said...

Lovely to hear from you Angela!
My heart sank reading your story! Its amazing but you know these things... even at 8 if you are sensitised to them.
I was there in 1987 and plenty was intact at the places I saw over 4 months... but I stayed away mostly from the heavily touristed destinations. 20+ years on I hate to think what's happened - as you say!
I dont think these were taken so many years ago though... maybe they have heritage listings there?

nathalie et cetera said...

beautiful photos indeed! I love photos of old places and the colors in those are fabulous.

i googled Witjuti grub. i hear that they are very good. not sure about that :)
as for the ferns shoots, theere is only one species that you can eat, they are called Ostrich fern or Fiddle Heads (Matteuccia struthiopteris). You have to clean them well, then you bring them to a boil for 2 minutes, rinse them, repeat that treatment once. These steps get rid of the bitterness and all the brown scales covering the fern. Then you cook them as you wish: sauté or steamed, served with butter and lemon juice is my favorite. I read that they are very nutritious and contain a lot of proteins for a vegetable.

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Nathalie,
its wonderful to hear how you cook Fiddle-head (like that name!) ferns. I have been reading of late about the food value of whatever is indigenous to a region - all the poisonous and not so worthy things aside it figures that some local native things would possibly have great nutritional value. We seem to be ever so quietly tipping towards something a revolution of our global understanding of this.
Butter and lemon juice sounds great - they are so wonderful to look at!
Glad you liked the photos!

La Dolce Vita said...

amazing post Sophie, I am just struck by the texture of these village interiors, the colors and the forms, they really grab me. wow!

Sophie Munns said...

Hi Cat,
they are so affecting....aren't they?
Glad you got to see them!
Thanks for popping in!