These images of abandoned cars are not a comment on social decline. The cars themselves are a manifestation of the simple and carefree lifestyle that continues to thrive in Crete despite the onslaught of consumerism and material culture. On the island of Crete it is quite natural to simply abandon a car on the street or in a neighboring field when it is no longer of use. Here automobiles never became venerated possessions reflecting the status of their owners, but are treated as a simple convenience, a means to an end, and even a communal appliance. Still today many Cretan villages are hardly accessible by car and the roads between them are little more than narrow rocky trails. Cars seem to function here, well past their expected life span, and all sorts of home remedies are administered to keep them running.
Abandoned cars are integrated into the urban and rural environments. Once salvaged for parts, the skeletal frames can be decorated with potted plants, used for storage, or co-opted by stray dogs for shelter. Their once bright paint jobs fade in the sun and dust, and the vivid hues of the bygone days of automobile manufacturing speckle the arid summer landscape. Rather than inspiring a sense of emptiness or decay, they convey a precious freedom from materialism and a the joie de vivre of the island.
It is this freedom that Giaconi strives to capture in his photographs. These images of junked cars carry the viewer beyond the thing itself to expose the essence of the Cretan spirit, where the street is transformed into a theatre, and lives are performed against the back drop of one of the ancient cradles of western civilization.
All photographs taken in Crete between 2004 and 2008.
Born in Vicenza, Italy, Giovanni Giaconi's approach to architecture began in 1985 while studying Architectural Renovation in Vicenza, Italy. He then refined his knowledge of planning and renovation in Vicenza, and later in New York City. He worked in Manhattan for several years as project manager and designer on various architectural renovation projects. Giovanni worked and traveled extensively in Europe, Asia, North and South America, he is also fluent in Italian, English, French, Greek. He is a skillful windsurfer and the author of "ANDREA PALLADIO Acquarelli di Giovanni Giaconi" published by Dolp, Vicenza, April 2009 and "The Villas of Palladio" published by Princeton Architectural Press, NY, October 2003.