Ikarian Naked LandscapesΔημοσιεύθηκε: Ιανουαρίου 17, 2011
This is Adam Monk. He is a professional photographer from Australia who specializes in wide wild landscapes of the type that Australians call “outback”. Adam who is an artist, calls them “Naked Landscapes”. They are, as he says, «places far from the influence of man«. Last June he visited Greece and took photos of our «outback», our Wild Nature (“Άγρια Φύση”) or “Virginal Nature”. Naked Landscapes, Virginal Nature, one metaphor for another. Metaphors is tricky stuff. To use them one has to know well what he or she is talking about. Undoubtedly Adam does. See here some great photos from Fournoi isles and four well chosen Naked Landscapes from Ikaria. On his permission I have connected them into this entry. I couldn’t also help copying the stories that go with them as well, which he was so generous to share with the viewers.
Last year in June/July i had the opportunity to go to Greece with my girlfriend Electra, who is Greek. Greece is one of the places i’d always wanted to go but had never made it to… it’s a long list! We stayed only 4 weeks, which is not long enough to really explore Greece, but seeing all of it wasn’t the objective, but to experience the life and culture of Greece a little, hear the language and eat the food… and eat more of the food… Greek food is great, usually quite simple, but really good!
One of the places we visited was the Island of Ikaria, not one of the main tourist islands, and right over near the coast of Turkey. Ikaria was quite different to what i expected Greece to look like, and very different to the other Greek Island we visited on that journey, more on the other island later.
I had always thought Greek Islands would be more like Rottnest, the island off the coast of Fremantle, and many of them are, very rocky, dry and windswept with low scrubby vegetation and small white painted houses. In contrast to this Ikaria is green, forested and has beautiful gorges with rivers and waterfalls, and the houses are not painted white!
One thing that was as i expected it to be was the crystal clear water of the Aegean Sea with it’s amazing deep aquamarine blue colour that just invites you to jump in, which i did on many occasions, including just after making this image here, which is the bay of a tiny fishing village at the end of a long rough dusty dirt road (it was a hire car…). I cant remember the name of the place, but when we finally arrived it was around midday and the whole town (all 15 houses) was asleep for the afternoon, so it was quite eerie, like a ghost town, we had the whole place to ourselves. So, we went down to the bay and swam around naked! It was lovely.
The Greek Island of Ikaria is a haven for bushwalkers and nature lovers. Unlike many Greek Islands that tend to be dry and windswept (though still beautiful), Ikaria is thickly forested and covered in gorges, rivers and waterfalls… i’m starting to sound like a travel agent or a travel documentary! Way too formal.
Well, as much as i love beaches, freshwater rivers and waterfalls amongst shady forests are really my favourites, there is something more surreal and almost imaginary about them. Its probably something left over from my childhood when i would ride off on my bicycle into the bush and spend the day wading around in creeks and rivers catching little freshwater crayfish and turtles (then letting them go again), only to turn up at home again hours later wet and smelling of the swamp!
Whatever the reason, for me Ikaria was a paradise of rivers, waterfalls and freshwater crayfish (i tend to eat those now…), with lots of long lovely walking trails through shady forests and rocky gorges, that would take you down to places like this one…
This magical little spot was just a short walk from the room we rented just outside of Nas on the Greek Island of Ikaria. It is a small pool in the Chalares Gorge which cut right through the landscape below the balcony of the room and ended at the beach shown in the previous post. This spot is cool, shady and tranquil, perfect spot to lean on a tree and read a book or just do nothing…
The reason Adam chose Ikaria is obvious. He speaks about it in the descriptions and, most of all, through his photos. The reason now I chose Adam was of a different nature. It had to do with destiny. Only few months after his visit, torrential rainfalls hit the island and violent landslides altered the looks of the sites where he took photos.
This is Trapalou (site of Adam’s 1st photo and story) in October 2010.
This is Nas (site of Adam’s 3rd photo and story) in October and the riverbed of Chalares (site of 2nd and 4th photo and story) in December 2010.
Who can say if it’s better or worse? Who can judge the course of the planets?
Someone would love the new beach (for as long as it stays). Someone else lost an ancestral old house and property. Someone loves the new clean stony bed of the river. Someone else weeps over the loss of the pools, the plane trees and the waterfalls. A romantic is shocked. A stoic is not.
Yet there is a thing we can do. We can eliminate the influence of man in what so ever aggravates the consequences of nature’s changes on man. Only rain can’t break down a mountain. That mountain had been eroded and broken already. Not by mining or excavations but by… goats! Who on earth would believe?
An extravagance for another, first thing I do when I am back in Ikaria will be to bathe in the goat-made new beach and hike in the goat-made new river! I am more than sure they will still be beautiful, though different, Naked Landscapes. And when some day people realize that too many goats is a disaster and get rid of them, the new Naked Landscapes of Ikaria will stop breaking down They will be very green and that day I will call Adam back!
Note: Adam Monk’s photos © Adam Monk, see technical details inside the original entries. Photo of Trapalou and Nas © Christos Malachias. Photo of Chalares riverbed © «angeloska».