To my imagination spoke the islands of Santorini for a longer time when I arrived there first in 2004. As most of the peoples interested in stories told by old myths, the myth of Atlantis was one of them. Some spoke that Santorini once was this infamous lost island of Atlas, the Titan that carries the heavens, planet Earth, Uranus. But such is mythology: stories in a language of different times gone by. Santorini however still exists, with or without Atlas. Or at least what is left of it. A huge explosion of the volcano broke the island into pieces, about 3.500 years ago. The Mediterranean Sea came in and what is left we now know as the island of Thira, of Nea Kameni and other small islands of raw and pure volcanic rock. Santorini must be one of the most photographed places on earth because of this tragic fate and it's magical landscape.
In 2004 I shot a dozen rolls or even more, but the result was not to my satisfaction, although I have used a few photographs in this book. Before I left I already had made up my mind to visit the islands again and such became reality this year.
The few days I spent in May 2010 I was lucky not to experience an earthquake. I experienced long days from dusk till dawn, sweating, carrying heavy gear on my back all around, exploring the islands of Thira and Nea Kameni by foot in the hot burning sun. The last day I took a few shots with my analogue medium format camera; places I desperately wanted to shoot with "the real thing", for deep down inside I need the feeling of taking a roll of film, open the back of the camera and do all the handling manual, the metering, to push the trigger and to pull the handle that transports the film to the next frame.
I love [to catch] the light in Santorini. I love the stunning nature; it's caldera, the architecture. The way the houses and the streets are painted reminds me of "purist painters" like Barnett Newman and Yves Klein. You can see the same strong use of colours everywhere. I have tried to capture the opposites between nature and culture in a few shots and have called these: "A Human Zip shows Nature his Abstract Expression", which is off course referring to the works of Barnett Newman. You will see a few humans in this book, but no portraits. You will see humans as a part of the overwhelming landscape. The photographs of the architecture, the fresco's and other artifacts speak already of human presence.
I also admire the perseverance of the inhabitants who have built their houses and villages over and over again, earthquake after earthquake for thousands of years. Thanks to their pride Santorini is such a little miracle. They share the same creative powers; the volcano's fires that give birth to these rocks and the humans who sculpture these rocks into complete villages. With this book I have tried to capture these powers of creation and to catch some of mine.
Adam, November 2010