Tag Archives | medium format

Sunny days, cooler nights…

The mid-term break here at the Aegean Center on Paros has drawn to a close.  The first day of the rest of the session begins tomorrow with our Monday morning meeting, and back to work we go.  As usual, most of the students went traveling, as they should, and many came back in time to knuckle down and get back into the swing of things before the final push begins: 31 days until the student exhibit and I, for one, have not done enough.  Granted, I have been shooting a lot of film and developing it, but my digital projects have slowed and I haven’t been printing as much as I should.  I am not worried, however, as I know what and how much I can do and how to accomplish these tasks, but the newer students are just now acclimating to the idea that they are here to work as well as explore.  First the push, then the crunch and before anyone knows it, it is time to say ‘farewell’ to Paros, unless they are lucky enough to return in the spring, a session that breathes at a different rate then the fall.

As I write this dispatch from Pebble’s Jazz Bar, overlooking the quiet bay of Paroikia, in America the election for the President slouches  towards the the doorsteps of millions, like a wary and red-eyed dog begging for greasy scraps. On Tuesday evening the tally will reveal the overall tenor for the next four years of that country’s leadership and how this beast will be fed.  Of course, this election will effect the whole world.  If Obama wins, I hope he will have a chance to do more than just clean up his predecessor’s terrible messes.  If Romney is chosen to succeed, I fear the world will see what kind of mess can be created by a man with a parochial world view, a medieval stance on civil rights, freedom of speech and a religious background that I, for one, must call cultish at best.  I imagine the worst.  For a good idea of what this could mean, please feel free to read ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood.  To think that a military theocracy is impossible for the United States in this age is to bury your head in the sand.

The days have been warm and sunny.  There has been a shift in the breeze, from south to north, resulting in clearer skies and cooler nights.  I am hoping for more rain this week.  As the temperature slowly drops this becomes more likely, but the weather report doesn’t list this as a possibility.  More good news along with the weather is that the water in the darkroom has dropped to a lovely 21C.  This makes my life easier: small mercies for a possible bleak future.  I hope Yeats is wrong but poets seldom are.



Quiet Andiparos…

I am visiting Andiparos for part of our fall break from the Aegean Center.  I have been sleeping in and staying up late reading and watching movies.  Today I drove around for a while and photographed some of the stone wall formations that wind their way across the rugged landscape.  I am disheartened by some of the building I see going on–large luxury estates high up on the sides of the mountains, along the steeply sloping terrain, ruining the views of the sea.  Still, with my Mamiya c330 I can extract the beautiful lines of stone from the uglier new constructions, taking them out of context by cropping out the obvious greed and ego of modern man.   Such is my fantasy.

Throughout the day I have had the song “Wichita Lineman”, written by Jimmy Webb and made famous by Glen Campbell, stuck in my head.   I have always loved the melodic loneliness and deep heart of this song.  A friend, mentor and colleague reminded me recently that country music is just as much ‘soul music’ as the famous hits of Aretha Franklin.   This song is a good example for it is in that broad expansive landscape that one hears the lonely soul of America, forever distanced from its European and Asian roots, forever isolated from the rest of the world.  Webb wrote,

I am a lineman for the county

and I drive the main road
Searchin’ in the sun for another overload

I hear you singin’ in the wire,

I can hear you through the whine
And the Wichita Lineman

is still on the line

I know I need a small vacation

but it don’t look like rain
And if it snows that stretch down south

won’t ever stand the strain

And I need you more than want you,

and I want you for all time
And the Wichita Lineman is still on the line

Campbell has many religious and political views that I do not share but one enduring legacy that I admire him for, however, has been his musical work, his labor.  As a member of the “Wrecking Crew” he was one of the most sought out session players from the 50s through the 60s.  He wasn’t a mainstream star until later.  Last year he announced publicly that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.  He is currently on tour with his family, a tour which will be his last.  When I read Webb’s lyrics again, hearing Campbell’s voice, I cannot help but cry.

County Line Road, between Washington and Marshall Counties, Kansas.
Photo courtesy of Robert Crowe, photographer, St. Louis, Missouri.

For more of Robert Crowe’s photography and prose, please go here.




Paros news, part II, and travel ahead…

Once again I find myself at Mikro Cafe updating this electronic epistle, free to whomever wishes to read it and in doing so, please respond.  I arrived after my 12 day island-hop with fifteen rolls of exposed 120 film and I have developed it all.  This is important because it means that I may not have to bring my heavy medium format camera to Italy in the fall, which also means no tripod, no film, etc…What a literal load off my shoulders!  I can concentrate on digital color and get to know my new Leica M8 during the Italian session.  There was an issue in the darkroom, however, dealing with the near-tropical conditions. In short the water coming out of the tap was 24-25C  and I need the chemistry to be 20C.  The ambient room temperature was also 24-25C which meant that all the metal canisters and film reels were all 24-25C.  The upshot is that even if I drop the chemistry temp to 20C the second I put the soup in the can, the temp will rise 2 degrees at least, thus dropping the developing time.  This was my solution:

I made the initial film rinse at 16C, thus dropping the can/reel/ temp to 20C.  Then I can add the 20C soup and it will at least be stable for a couple of minutes before the ambient room temperature raises the can of soup a degree or so.  Now, since I have been under developing my PlusX by N-2 anyway in this darkroom I have to adjust the time again, this time for ambient temperature.  For this round of work I dropped the time to N-5 and the effects are very nice indeed: good separation in the shadows, nice highlights that are not overexposed and a balanced contrast.  Considering that many of the images were made in the height of the Greek sun (10:00-15:00, or 5800K) I am very pleased with the results.

Paros is much the same.  The Watercolor Workshop and the Digital Photography Bootcamp finished and hung a small exhibition last Friday which was lovely.  I was impressed by the photographers and enchanted by the watercolorists.  Some of the photographers had never worked in this kind of digital dynamic before and their work was terrific: all illustrated an excellent use of negative space, lovely light/shadow, texture and elegant composition in the work.  The watercolors were ethereal and splashed with colors, bright and soft.  There were some students who had never worked in this medium as well but that wasn’t apparent.  This is a testament to both their innate skill and that of their instructor.  There are more tourists on the island, but it is not crammed with people.  I am sure this is making some business owners nervous about their futures, but the summer hasn’t really arrived and the July and August crowds will write the book on this piece of marble in the blue sea.

I leave Paros for the USA in about a week.  I would like to think I will have a relaxing time back in New York but my time will be short and I have much to do, many people to see and commitments to keep.  I will be off-island and out of the EU for a month and then return at the very beginning of August.  As the plan goes I have about three weeks here and then I am off to visit a friend in England for a couple of days and then head to Italy, Ravenna and finally Pistoia and the Villa Rospigliosi where I meet up with the rest of the school for the Italian Session.  I have a lot of work to do for the fall.  My portrait project must continue and I need to push that a bit if I am to stay on schedule for the beginning of printing in October.  I am thankful for all the work I have done so far and I am a little ahead of schedule in the darkroom, but I must not rest on my laurels.  My role as student/intern is unwritten but the future looks bright, at least from this vantage point.



Paros homecoming…

As we left Sifnos I waved goodbye to that pretty island and began my short journey home via the Aqua Jewel, a ferry I have come to know very well.  The northern wind whipped up the waves and as we sailed due west we were in a beam sea most of the trip.  This caused a fair amount of pitch and roll and, although I am not one to get seasick, I kept my eyes on the horizon to keep my inner ear on an even keel.  The trip was, as I said, supposed to be a short 3 hours, but it went for an additional 45 minutes due to that weather.  As we came into closer sight of Paros, we turned south, the seas calmed and the rolling ceased.  The following sea pushed us and as we sailed past The Doors and I felt like I had come home.  A friend met me at the port and we caught up with others at Pebbles for a sunset.

This morning I loaded a large pile of laundry into the machine, opened up the doors of my flat, shook the rugs out, swept, mopped and generally re-opened the place after having it closed up for almost two weeks.  I then headed to the market and picked up some essential stuff and went out to Drios to pick up the rental car I had lent to my friend Jeanne.  It was great to see her and some other folks.  When I returned back to Paros I realized that I had accomplished what I needed to do for the day and had little choice but to head to the beach for some swimming and lazing about.  Not really, of course.  I did a hundred or so crunches and bicycle pumps, swam a few ‘laps’, read a bit (a biography of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius) and then headed back to Paros for a shower and quick nap.

As I write this I am back at Mikro Cafe.  Colin has made me a wonderful iced latte and offered me an apricot from a friends garden.  “They were falling off the trees, he said…”  There is chill music on the stereo, the weather is balmy with a light southern wind and I have plans to be in the darkroom tonight to begin developing the film I shot while I was hopping about the Cyclades.

Ah yes…back home and back to work!



Sifnos, hiking and going home…

I left Serifos almost three days ago.  It was sunny and warm and the northern wind was Force 7.  The ferry arrived shortly after 12:00 to take me to Sifnos and off I went, rolling a bit in the sea, but enjoying being back on the road, so to speak.  How do I describe Sifnos?  If Serifos is the rugged, rough and rocky island then Sifnos is its more quiet, calm and well-preserved cousin.  It is not as if either are not developed, but Sifnos has been developed in a more thoughtful way while Serifos will always bear the scars of 19th and 20th century industrial manhandling. In short, Sifnos is lovely.  The towns are small, the island running roughly north-south and the ambient charm all Greek, all Cyclades, all the time.  Sifnos is the ‘Island of Potters’ and the number of ceramic workshops dotted across the landscape speak to that, but this was not always the case.  At one time Sifnos was an island of gold and other metals which made it very wealthy.  Each year the inhabitants gave a golden egg to the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.  The end came around 500BC when, as legend has it, the Sifnains gave a gilt egg instead of a solid one and so brought on the wrath of the god who flooded the mines thus ending their prosperity.  Just a warning from history about taking shortcuts!  In any case, the island was eventually part of the Duchy of Naxos, then suffered under the Turks and then finally liberated in 1830 along with the rest of Greece.  The history is more complex than what I have just written and you can read a bit more here.

My stay so far has been relaxed yet very active.  I have been taking pictures and have only a single roll of Plus-X 120 to shoot.  If I don’t manage it I won’t kick myself because I know I will be back here soon but I would like to finish up the pack.  The quality of the walls here on the island is magnificent and I have been documenting them extensively.  Like most of the islands there are stone walls everywhere but the level of preservation here is well above the others.  I imagine this has more to do with the importance of agriculture when compared to other islands.  More agriculture means infrastructural relevance which translates to a pragmatic upkeep of existing bulwarks and boundaries.  There are olive groves covering open areas and along myriad terrace farms while fields of barley grow wherever flat ground can be tilled.  One striking short journey is from the port of Kamares to the primary town of Apolonia.  Through the long winding uphill valley the olive groves line the road, hugging the steep hillsides, their silvery green-grey leaves standing out in stark contrast to the dried golden hue of the surrounding flora.  The Port of Kamares is small. I like port towns and it is quiet when one compares it to Adamas or Paroikia. There is something about being so close to the hub of travel that excites me.  Once again I am reminded of the millennia preceding me and the countless footsteps that have traveled the path I now tread.  Not much has changed, I think.   Not really.

I have been staying at Simeon’s Rooms and Apartments. It is clean, neat, the terrace of my double room looks out over the bay and I have a lovely view of the sunset.  The owner and his family have been very helpful during my stay and I highly recommend the place.  They also seem to run a small taverna about 100 meters from the dock where I have been happily eating for the past two nights.  I tend to stay away from overly-complex new-wave Greek cuisine in favor of local home cooking and I have found it here.  The kolokithokeftedes I had two nights ago were fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside.  They were a perfect match to the garlicky tzatziki. I could spend a week here and really explore the restaurants but in the end I am a creature of habit and when I find a place I like, I stick with it.  I’ll be there again tonight, this time for imam baldi, salad and something else to be decided upon later.

Sifnos is also noted for its hiking.  There are many well-marked trails running throughout the island and all of them well maintained.  I have been on two jaunts so far, the same one really, but tough enough to make the second time as challenging as the first especially in hot weather.  My choice has had more to do with the high northern wind and my search for a quiet beach away from whatever crowds are here.  I chose the path that runs on the southern tip of the island from the small seaside village of Vathi to Fykiada Bay.  The hike to the bay was mostly downhill and I covered the 3km in about 25 minutes.  The return trip took 40 minutes.  I brought 1.5L of water, some fruit, sunblock and other beach necessities.  The fine, sandy beach is nestled in a quiet cove and I saw no other humans the entire time, including during the hike.  The only other souls were a few goats running around the scrubby, rocky hillsides and the beach.  There is an abandoned farm behind the beach and an olive grove stretches another half kilometer to the NE.  I loved walking through the grove, feeling very much like I had discovered this place for the first time.  In the middle sat the old farmhouse, crumbling stone barns and other outbuildings.  I wandered around the place for a while today, snapping pictures.

This is my last evening of my island hopping adventure.  I have been away from Paros for less than a fortnight  yet it feels like a month since I have sat at Mikro Cafe for coffee or watched the sunset from the terrace of Pebbles.  My friends at the Aegean Center have been busy with their watercolor workshop and their digital photography boot camp.  I have been working as well, but at a different pace.  Tomorrow afternoon I board the Aqua Jewel for the three hour voyage to Paroikia, a place I hope is becoming my home.  I have loved my break and there have been moments when I have lost track of time.  This has been a cure for my restless mind.  I have met some very interesting people and I hope to see them again in the future but as I write this my thinking is already beginning to shift. After over a week of being off-island I need to clean my apartment and air it out;  I need to finalize some details with my mentors regarding the fall; preparations need to be made for my trip back to the USA in two weeks;  I have to develop 15 rolls of Plus-X…the list could go on, but you get the drift.  Reality seeps back in to the fantasy of life on the road and reminds me where I need to be standing.  I can have my head in the clouds all I want but my feet need to be firmly attached to the earth in order to properly fix my position with the wandering stars.




Charmed by Serifos…

Some would say that Serifos is a desolate place, barren and dry with few amenities.  I have found the opposite to be true.  It has just the right amount of  mod-cons for me.  It has one bank, one petrol station, wonderful and accessible beaches, excellent hiking, beautiful vistas, local grocery stores (no franchises) and a very friendly and hospitable local population eager to help an intrepid traveler from across the sea.  There are many restaurants, most of which fall into the middle-of-the-road category, a few that are trying to impress and at least one where I wish I had been eating all along.  First, the bad news…

I ate at ‘Aloni’ last night.  This place is situated on the hillside just below the Chora, overlooking the harbor. It is a lovely view and the restaurant itself is relatively new having opened in 2007.  I was pointed in its direction by a local business owner and I must admit it has many qualities I found enjoyable.  I sat outside and ordered simply: saganaki and a half-kilo of lamb chops with fried potatoes. The sagankai was perfect-crispy on the outside and gooey and hot inside.  I didn’t need to ask for lemon as it was served with a large chunk on the side, same with the lamb.  This, for those who don’t know, is something I have had to ask for on both Ios and Milos.  It is traditional.  The lamb chops were alright, a bit overdone, but the fat was crunchy and the meat still tasty if a bit dry.  The potatoes were decent.  Now, the downside.  I chose to sit next to two Greek men about my own age who were loud and boisterous, always on their mobiles and every third word out of their mouths seemed to be ‘malaka’.  I know it has multiple meanings and was probably being used in an affectionate and friendly manner, but I don’t need to hear it all through my meal at such a high volume.  Plus, how do I know it was being used affectionately?   In any case, back to the meal.  After finishing my entree I sat for at least 35 minutes with no sign of the waitress (not uncommon, and normal, so no big deal) but when I called her over she disappeared into the restaurant and returned with my check, which I had not yet asked for.  I guess I wasn’t having dessert.  I paid the bill and left, feeling as if I had been given the ‘bum’s rush.’  I was let down, to say the least.

Tonight, however, I found a secret restaurant, hiding in plain sight.  Next door to my hotel is the Hotel Cyclades.  The Hotel Cyclades is located away from the main cluster of the port restaurants and not in Chora, so they seem to be a little in the background of the hustle and bustle that is downtown Serifos.  I was overjoyed at being able to have a starter of melitzanosalata (acidic and rich) then a mixed dish of gigantes, imam and roast pork in lemon sauce.  I even ate the bread, which I usually try to avoid.  It was the best I have had here, chewy and flavorful.  The dessert was a traditional sweet cake and they brought me an excellent double espresso to wash it down.  Really superb and my kind of Greek food.  No pretense, no flash and no trying to ‘out-restaurant’ anyone else.  Just good Greek home cooking.  I cannot speak of their rooms but I imagine that they are as basic, clean and neat as these kind of family establishments tend to be.  Next time I visit Serifos, I will try to eat there more often.

As I sit outside at the Serifos Yacht Club, listening to a mix of world groove and enthusiastic action from the European Football League playoffs on the big screen I am washed in a balmy breeze from across the small harbor.  The parade of life that is Serifos on a Friday night wander past, off to dinner, cafes or coming home from one of the same.  I have yet to pack my bags for my short boat ride to Sifnos tomorrow at noon.  I have to return my trusty Suzuki Vitara in the morning and pay my hotel bill.  Yes, I will say ‘ephcharisto para poli’ and ‘yassou!’ to Serifos but only for a short time. I am looking forward to returning, perhaps in the fall when the crowds have thinned out and Serifos is once again the Serifians.  I will hope to find some sun in the gradually shrinking days of autumn, dine at the Hotel Cyclades and find a less aggressive light in the whitewashed streets of the Chora to photograph.  I will bathe in the sea, still warm from the summer heat and count my lucky stars that I have been able to experience this place, this small island of Serifos.



Serifos, first impressions…

After the busy-ness of Milos, I boarded my beloved Aqua Jewel and headed north to Serifos for another 3-4 day stay on that little island.  I had been told by one Greek person that Serifos “was spoiled”.  I am not sure what she meant but I have found the exact opposite to be true.  This is a charming place; rugged, undeveloped in the ways of other islands and, in the words of another friend, like Greece was many years ago.  Yes, there are tourists, but not so many.  There are boats in the harbor, but again, not so many.  It is, in some ways, similar to a little backwater town that is somewhere off the tourist maps.  I mean this in a good way.  The locals are very hospitable, the food is tasty and the beaches are lovely.  I spent the early morning and mid-afternoon on a quiet beach called Vagia (vay-ya)on the island’s southern side.  There was no one there the entire time. This may to do with the month since June is not the high season for them, but in reality I needed my little Suzuki Vitara to get down to the sand.  Also, there is no public transport so you must drive there.  It is too far to walk and the heat even at 10:00hrs grows oven-like.  In any case, I swam and basked in the sun for a while, then did some crunches, my bicycle pumps and some stretches before having another swim, drying off in the sun and heading back off to take some pictures.

One of my favorite subjects is old equipment left over from the influx of humans and their work.  Like Milos, Serifos was heavily mined, but only since 1885.  The mines closed in 1963 and what is left is fascinating.  Ore carts, tracks, trucks, buildings, machinery of all sorts lay scattered around parts of the island, primarily in Mega Livadi and Koutalos.  I am enthralled by this milieu as it always reminds me of the poem ‘Ozymandias’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley.  These wrecks of industry lying powerless among the thorns, rocks and heat are a reminder of the futility of mankind’s hollow greed and hubris.  Someday when the human species has disappeared from the face of the Earth, the Earth will swallow the remains, turning them back into the minerals and metals from which they came.  We all return to the Earth, it seems, even our tools.  This may sound bleak but I find great comfort in knowing that the Earth is a more powerful force than we are.  It keeps me right-sized.  As a photographer I find endless textures and shades of color in these objects and they contain a beauty all their own.  I had to do some hiking to get the images I wanted but these places are not roped off and are safe to approach as long as one uses common sense and simple caution.

My hotel is situated on the peralia, the strip of road the runs along the half-moon of the natural harbor.  The Hotel Maistrali is a clean, neat place and the owner Bobbi is a charming host.  We have already had conversations concerning politics, mining, and Serifian history. He has looked at the map with me and told me of the high and low points to see and avoid.  Not much to avoid, but still…I found his place via another travel website which is also a wealth of Greek information.  I am here for another two full days and am looking forward to more photography, more beach time and general sightseeing.  Tonight I will have dinner in the chora, the older town up on the hillside overlooking the harbor.



On my way again…


My new clock

I had forgotten the joys of the open road after living on Paros for such a long time. True, the occasional trip to Athens took the edge off of staying put, but when I began traveling back in 2005 I was always exhilarated by what was around the bend or over the next hill.  I have missed this.  I seem to have found it again in this little island hopping adventure on which I am currently engaged.  First, the ferry schedule mix-up on Ios readjusted me to the realities of the road (or sea, as it were) then, as a result of the schedule changes not only did I spend a lovely day on that island but I was “forced” into coming to Milos, an island not originally on the agenda.  I am very happy that this occurred.  I have had a lovely time here and met some of the nicest people.  Let’s face it, the Greeks are the nicest bunch of folks I have ever met anyway so this is saying a lot.  The beaches, the food and the accommodations were all top notch in my book.  I stayed at a nice place, just off of the port called “Aphrodite of Milos Hotel Apartments.”  The owner, Nikos Mathioudakis is a charming host and was willing to talk about his joys and troubles in the same breath.  He was also able to help me with a small load of laundry and send an important  fax to America.  All of this he did without charge. Ephcharisto para poli Niko!

This morning I was up at 07:00 and out the door with my camera, tripod and a towel.  I stopped at the old salt factory on the edge of town and finished up my shoot there, which makes for 5 rolls of Plus-X exposed on Milos. I have 9 rolls left and I am pretty sure I can use them up on Serifos and Sifnos.  This will make me happy.  After the shoot I went down to a nice sandy beach for an early morning swim.  The water was perfect and as the sun rose above the craggy rocks I walked along the edge of the sea to dry off.  Then, of course I had to swim some more and then walk around again.  I decided to do some stretches and crunches so I did about 50 of those and then, yes, I had another swim.  At that point it was edging up to 09:00 and almost time to drop off my reliable Fiat Panda at Nikos Rentals here in Adamas.  So I walked around some more, dried off, got dressed and headed back to the road where I had left the Fiat.  As I drove back into town I was full of gratitude to be able to be living this life.  Truly amazing.  I checked out of the hotel and wished Niko good luck for the summer.  When I come back to Milos I will stay there again.

I have a few hours until the NEL Aqua Jewel arrives to take me to Serifos and I am sitting in the Puerto Snack Bar, immediately adjacent to the port.  It is a decent place and actually only serves Greek fare in the evenings when they make kalamakia but during the day it is more western: hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, panini, salads, etc…Excellent espresso freddo, by the way, and lots of shade.  It is just after 11:00 and it is already very hot.  Poli zesty!   If the boat arrives on time (14:05) then I should be on Serifos round 17:30, I think.   No matter, however, since I am on a different kind of schedule that pays less attention to timetables and emphasizes the unknown journey over the wine dark sea.


Ios, plans and changing with the wind…

I am taking some time off and hopping about the Cyclades Archipelago for a week or so.  I think I mentioned that in an earlier post.  Before I left Paros I had checked some ferry schedules and I had set my plan thus: Ios for a night then an early ferry to Serifos the next day then a few days on that island then Sifnos, then back to Paros.  The best laid plans of mice and men, indeed.  Apparently I misheard the ferry schedule and the boat to Serifos left the same morning I arrived on Ios, so I had to shift my sails.  This is the new plan:  Ios, then the afternoon boat to Milos where I will stay until Tuesday and then go to Serifos for three or four days and then Sifnos afterwards.  I have had to extend my hop and added Milos, but such is life.  I could not have done it without the help of the good people at Acteon Travel in Ios.  Thank you Calliope, Theodora and Themos.  They proved the point that there are always solutions to what I may think are dire problems.  The upside is that have been able to see some interesting sites here on Ios.  There are no downsides. I drove out to Homer’s grave, visited the Paleokastro in the mountains and had a short swim on a deserted stretch of beach in Psathi.  I ate dinner last night at a small taverna at the very top of the chora called ‘The Mills’.  Excellent chorta, revithiokeftedes, spitted lamb, tzatziki and fried potatoes.  I highly recommend the place.

From Ios I can see Santorini to the south and Paros, Andiparos and Naxos to the north.  The terrain here reminds me of the Naxian interior and is very rugged and unbuilt.  Goats, donkeys and cows roam the twisty mountain roads, gnawing on the rough foliage.  The stonework of the walls that make up the terrace farms is also very different than on Paros and Naxos.  The material here tends to be more flat and sedimentary and as a result the walls are wider and flatter than those made with chunky bits of marble or limestone karst.  I have exposed roll of Plus-X with my Mamiya c330 and I hope to continue this while I am on my hop.

As I sit in the port of Ios at the Remezzo Cafe (free WiFi) I am surrounded by travelers waiting for the next high-speed boat to wherever, maybe Naxos or Milos, or perhaps Pireaus.  I had a nice chat with Themos this morning before I rented my little Fiat Panda.  We talked of reincarnation, the changeless quality of travel and why we love it and how beautiful the world can be if we just slow down and let our lives run on a different kind of schedule, one not dictated by our minds and wallets but rather our hearts and souls.  This from the guy who rented me a car…

More to come…JDCM



Showtime at the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts…

It is showtime tonight and the student exhibit is up, ready to be viewed by the public.  We have cleaned the school, hung the paintings, drawings and photographs with care and pride and have cleaned our respective studios.  These will be open to the public as well so, like those before me, I have arranged some paintings and hung some of my better drawings on the wall in a display.  My paints are out so that others may see the limited pallet that has provided so much color for the past three months.  It is a very pretty show and reflects hard work on all of our parts during what was, at least for me, a very difficult and trying session.  The mid-session stroke that left my photography teacher partially paralyzed threw a real monkey wrench into my thinking, but I pulled through as did others.  We have learned in proportion to how we have participated and that will always be true no matter how much or how well we age.

There are several alumni here this week which makes for fun times.  One is a young woman who I had a particularly difficult time with last spring.  She believed I had fallen in love with her when a simple gift of farewell and good luck was misinterpreted as something more.  I have decided that being friendly and supportive is a better path than being withdrawn and sullen.  This is a very Greek cycle.  It has been year since the incident occurred so I suppose it is time to the let the water go from under the bridge, over the damn and back out to sea.

Speaking of paths…Another alum is here and next week see begins her journey along the Camino de Santiago, walking the 790 km French route from Pied-de-Port, France to Castello de Santiago, Spain.  I have left the hyper-link for a reason. Follow it and find out what it is if you do not already know.  I have made it a goal to walk this route in the fall of 2013.  Yes, more than a year away, but I have goals to achieve before that in my photography.  I’ll talk about that later…

More to come.