Thick with the eerie awe of the uncanny


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Sculpture Garden of the Gods, ANIMATED LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY FROM THE GREEK ISLAND OF IKARIA, a book by Thomas K. Shor

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. Hello readers! .Angelos K.

My name is Angelos K. and since I was nominated contributor I am afraid I have written very few articles in this blog. Let’s say that I was saving my blogging skills for special occasions. And as I hope you can tell from the introductory picture, this is a special occasion. The place is Pezi plateau located on the western part of Ikaria island, Greece. The time is two years ago, between December and January 2013. The photographer is Thomas K. Shor, an American writer, photographer and traveller. He and his wife Barbara appeared out of the blue in Ikaria in the middle of a cloudy and rainy winter. During their stay we hiked (a little), we talked (a lot) and we became good friends. Apparently, they liked the island, because they visited us two times. Between their visits I had the chance to read two of Thomas’s books, «A Step Away from Paradise» and «The Master Director» and although I know very little about the places where the action takes place, I liked both of them very much.

While in Ikaria Thomas often carried a camera but I didn’t pay much attention to the fact. All Americans carry cameras. Until one day when he came to my house and showed to me a pack of high quality B/W prints. Knowing that I am a hiker and an amateur photographer, and therefore, I was familiar with the locations and the subjects, he asked for my opinion about his work. I was all admiration! As a matter of fact, I couldn’t keep my fingers off those prints! Through the years I have seen a lot of great pictures from the desolate landscapes of our mountains but these ones were special. Moreover, they were 100% «Ikaria» and not, as it so often happens, overprocessed creations which, no matter how beautiful they are, I label them «fiction» and I don’t usually give them a second glance.  😕 😕

Sculpture Garden of the Gods, ANIMATED LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY FROM THE GREEK ISLAND OF IKARIA, a book by Thomas K. Shor, City Lion Press, 2018I immediately told Eleni about Thomas work and as much of her blog is dedicated to photography, she told me to ask for Thomas’s permission and left the door open for me to get in and post an article about his book. So I did.

Inside Thomas’s article about his book, there is an awesome slideshow where you can view some of his many amazing photos. I borrowed the title of my article: «Thick with the eerie awe of the uncanny», from Thomas’s first draft of the publication. I loved that title! Because, like Eleni, everybody in Ikaria loves ghost stories. How couldn’t we? Just take a look at these photos! Look at the landscapes we live in! Thomas has managed to show that these shapes, these shades, these forms, are alive. More than that, they can talk and tell stories!

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Below you can see some photos
of Thomas K. Shor taken while hiking with our local hiking club, in Ikaria. Further down I have added a few quotes from his book about the island.
….:star: ⭐ :star:….

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.Hike Karavostamo - Arethousa. Morning Gathering (4)Hike Karavostamo - Arethousa. Morning Gathering (3)Karavostamo - Arethousa. 3rd part of the hike (6)Karavostamo - Arethousa. 3rd part of the hike (2)Trail of the Elves (Rahes-Kampos) 01Trail of the Elves (Rahes-Kampos) 02Trail of the Elves (Rahes-Kampos) 04Trail of the Elves (Rahes-Kampos) 06Trail of the Elves (Rahes-Kampos) 10Ikarian Ridge Walk Dec 18 04Ikarian Ridge Walk Dec 18 03Ikarian Ridge Walk Dec 18 02Ikarian Ridge Walk Dec 18 01
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«THE ISLAND OF IKARIA is distinctive for various reasons. It remains to this day an untouristed backwater where people are largely self-sufficient and unusually independently minded. It has been labeled one of the “Blue Zones,” with the highest percentage of people in their nineties on the planet.»

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«Historically, it was the poorest island in the Aegean. It is also one of the lushest, with numerous springs and rivers and forests of pine and oak.»

«Yet the landscape photographs I have been taking over the course of a couple of extended stays reflect nothing of this lushness and hardly depict any people.»

«The island is long and thin, a single mountain ridge rising sharply out of the Aegean Sea not far from the coast of Turkey. At the top of this ridge, topped by numerous 3,000 foot (1,000 meter) peaks, is a landscape that haunted and excited me from the moment I set eyes on it.»

«It is a desolate and windswept land of exposed granite carved by the elements into bizarre shapes and balancing boulders. The granite has a mysterious propensity to take the form of living beings.»

«The trees are stunted and the bushes thorny. It can change from bright sun to near impenetrable fog at such a speed as to be entirely disorienting.»

«The atmosphere is often reminiscent of the stories of Edgar Allen Poe, thick with the eerie awe of the uncanny. The beauty of the place is raw and the solitude profound. This series of photographs, taken on the mountain’s many moods, reflects both the landscape and what it did to me.»

Amazon: Order a copy of 'Sculpture Garden of the Gods', ANIMATED LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY FROM THE GREEK ISLAND OF IKARIA, a book by Thomas K. Shor

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Wednesday, December 24, 2015
Updated: Friday, October 26, 2018
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*2 uUNdrowned Ophelias*


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intervening shot by angeloska on Flickr
…ooooImagejjhh… THE rIVer pooLS of MAy & jUne
*Angel pools*
*Fairy pools*
ΖΗΤΩ οι «Αγγελολιβάδες» ΤΗΣ ΙΚΑΡΙΑΣ
.__ Image __.

ophelias.

Comments

(12 total)

Homeric Hymn 5 (to Aphrodite) 97ff.
ἤ τις Νυμφάων, αἵτ᾽ ἄλσεα καλὰ νέμονται
ἢ Νυμφῶν, αἳ καλὸν ὄρος τόδε ναιετάουσι
καὶ πηγὰς ποταμῶν, καὶ πίσεα ποιήεντα.

σοὶ δ᾽ ἐγὼ ἐν σκοπιῇ, περιφαινομένῳ ἐνὶ χώρῳ,
βωμὸν ποιήσω, ῥέξω δέ τοι ἱερὰ καλὰ
ὥρῃσιν πάσῃσι.

(my translation)
«Perhaps you are one of the Nymphs who inhabit the beautiful glades,
Or one of those who dwell upon this beautiful mountain or at the sources of rivers or in grassy meadows.

I will build you an altar high on a promontory, in a place easily seen from all around, and I will make beautiful sacrifices upon it every season.»

Perhaps one of those heads belongs to my namesake, Ψαλακανθα, who after all, was one of the Naiads of Ikaria 🙂 (http://www.theoi.com/Nymphe/NymphePsalakantha.html)

ps: what does «αγγελολιβάδες» mean? «angel-fairies»?

Tuesday May 9, 2006 – 07:13pm (EDT)

>>cool Schubert’s bums<<

(and because of Ψ who has Homeric stuff like that always handy, I’ll post a short lecture on «angelolivades» tomorrow. It’s basically «women lore» so I may be wrong, but I’ll just say what I know. If I am completely wrong, put the blame on Ψ.)

Wednesday May 10, 2006 – 10:55pm (EEST)

God damn, sounds like a place I will have to visit. Don’t go crazy and kill yourselves Ophelias.

Wednesday May 10, 2006 – 07:17pm (PDT)

Sure, AKK, blame everything on me. Is the pool in the photograph on your excellent list?

Thursday May 11, 2006 – 12:24am (EDT)

In the Ikarian dialect «livada» means «pool» or «pond». A «livada» can be a small rainpool in the street, a large river pool and even a lagoon at the mouth of a river.
All the deep dark pools in the rivers are named «Angel’s pools», Angelo-livades. There were 2 reasons I got interested in them. First, my name is Angelos ! Second, the first time I swam in one of them and I proudly announced it in the village, I was stared at as if I was a ghost and asked : «Did you survive?». That was about 30 years ago. I was thrilled and was determined to find out what lay behind this.
So I pressed and insisted on my father who grew up in Ikaria in the 1920s when «all that» was alive and the myths were facts. Later he became a historian but always kept a great love and good taste for folklore. According to him:
1) An «Angel» is a fairy; not a nereid (which is actually a female spirit dwelling in the springs and sources), but a nymph.
The «Psalakantha» story in Psalakanthos’ link makes sense. There are so many pools in Ikaria, hence as many nymphs.

requiescat in pace

2) The Ikarian mothers invented all sorts of stories to frighten their children away from these pools (not to play, swim or sleep around them). They didn’t want them to drown or catch pneumonia -which was a deadly disease before antibiotics. So the originaly benevolent Angel/Nymphs were calumniated and presented as monsters. They were supposed to mesmerize their victims with reflections and colours and so drag them to the bottom (where there would be palaces and treasures etc. etc.), but in fact they were turned into slaves etc. etc.
3) The Ikarian mothers of the old times were very heavy labourers. But before that they had been young maiden too. By inventing the legend of «evil pools» they were protecting a secret of their own adolescence : they visited these (hardly accesible) places and swam ! If they were seen, well… it was not a teenage neighbour Maria, Eleni, Anna, but NYMPHS = terrible «angels» -stay away, stay away; turn your eyes and leave at once or you don’t survive !

Myths were so practical in the times before plumbing, bath tabs and showers … especially before the invention of SHOWER CURTAINS !

https://i2.wp.com/farm1.static.flickr.com/53/139105906_23fd58f2b1_m.jpg

Thursday May 11, 2006 – 01:02pm (EEST)

Hippie Island! ☀ @Ψ : the pool in the photo is one under # 4 in the list of pools of msg 637
( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/hikingIkaria/message/637 ) This particular «Angelolivada» is very well known. It was the first I ever swam in (and «survived» !) The photo flatters the pool. Now after the contruction of the road above it, it’s left with only 1/3 of its original size. Besides being near the road, it’s too near Nas so it gets crowded in summer. It’s like an annex to the beach. But it’s still ok as an introduction. I suppose this is why Eleni chose to put this photo in this entry. Maybe because it’s the most known pool, so readers would believe her.
Some other shots of pools in «Lower Chalares» (near Nas)are in:
the hikingIkaria group

Thursday May 11, 2006 – 01:09pm (EEST)

yeah, we are nymphs, *Schubert’s bums* (I liked that -lol), fairies with i-pods. This *good machine* is our secret. We walk listening to music. We don’t talk. Do you know how far *no talking* can get you? We talk in the evening.

Eleni is uploading some photos in her Flickr -artistic as usual. Sorry, no *Schubert bums* in them. Our own beauty would defocus the viewers from the beauty and the complicated-ness of the settings. Currently neither of us is looking for mess around with boys and absolutely not on the net.
«Στη λίμνη τη βουνίσια … τραλαλα» hip hop

Υ.Γ. δεν με πειράζει το περπάτημα και το ξέσκισμα στα αγκάθια, μόνο που πιάστηε ο κ**ς μου καβάλα στο παπάκι …

Thursday May 11, 2006 – 10:21pm (EEST)

love Schubert -hate hip-hop. Sorry youngsters…

Thursday May 11, 2006 – 12:52pm (PDT)

This angelo-livada is so known that me too swam in it (and me too survived). No sounds but the whisper of a thousand «cicades». Floating in the water as a turtle, my breath took the same cicades rithm, my lungs did the same sound of the wings of a dragonfly, I moved slowly as one of the big fishes wich live there, naked as an eel.
Naked and naturally happy as all the nimphs who, only then I realized, were there, hidden by shadows and lights, breathing at the same rithm of cicades, doing the same sound of the wings of a dragonfly, silently listening at Schubert with their i-po(n)ds.

Friday May 12, 2006 – 02:07am (CEST)

WHAT A GREAT SCRIPT FOR THE NEW APPLE COMMERCIAL! I’ll purpose it them, but may be I’ll prefer Mendelssohn’s «midsummer night dream» music.

Friday May 12, 2006 – 02:15am (CEST)

I saw your latest uploads («aque dolci») in Flickr. Very difficult takes ! Who am I to admire most, the amateur trekker or the amateur photographer? I can’t decide.

Friday May 12, 2006 – 01:54pm (EEST)

the *invisible* people salute the return of Jimmy. They’ll remain invisible and won’t bite the bait (for an Apple commercial, a Timotei commercial, or an «Ikaria» commercial). We will remain invisible. We have already given too much. Others should come now and populate our landscapes with bodies and faces.
Like http://www.flickr.com/photos/38852820@N00/
-ooohhh it can be much better…

Loving is Sharing. Loving is also to help