Emporio: Santorini’s ignored gem

When one thinks of Santorini, one thinks of immaculate whitewashed villages perched high on the cliffs around the volcanic caldera. Every tourist brochure shows an image of Oia and its blue domed chuches, often usually at sunset. They never show the crowds of tourists jostling for position to see the sun drop behond that classic view. However in the interior are several villages which retain more of the island’s original character, with the additional advantage of not being overrun by tourists or photographed ad nauseam.

Our favourite example is Emporio, specifically the near-deserted interior of the village. This is a rambing collection of narrow passageways, guaranteed to confuse. It will be a few visits before you work out and remember how the passages connect. The houses are an odd assortment of newly rendered and whitewashed, interspersed with buiding sites and dereliction. This creates great contrasts and photographic opporunties.

The occupied areas feature bougainvillea flowers in glorious reds and purples.

What we really enjoy about Emporio is the potential for more abstract images when focusing on the details, playing with contasts, shapes and textures. This is ideal for monochrome photography, and even for alt process printing. I have printed a few of these as cyanotypes, such as that below.

Hidden at the far end of the maze is an enclosed quadrangle featuring a church. The surrounding passages offer a fantastic set of organic shapes and crumbling textures.

At the right time of year the setting sun shines straight down one of the tunnels leading to the church. I used Jan’s silhouette to create this eerie image (a lith print).

Amongst the old buildings are some modern structures with very pure lines, with curves and circles the predominant theme.


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