Thessaloniki in b&w infrared, GR 2017

Locations: These wonderfully contrasted pictures were taken a couple of years ago in Thessaloniki, Greece (December 2017). The intense contrast of the infrared b&w film is offering a dark and almost hopelessly dreary vibe to the pictures.

I decided to upload these picture now because I visited Greece during the Christmas holidays once again in 2020. Last time I was there during this festive period was three (!) years ago. This year, I also had the pleasure to revisit the “Umbrellas”, a landmark in the boulevard of Thessaloniki. Designed by George Zongolopoulos in 1997, this sculpture has been photographed countless times both by tourists and locals. Especially during this pandemic, I have noticed people walking up and down this boulevard, photographing again and again this amazing artwork. Just marvel at the wonderful contrast of the umbrellas against the overcast sky of that winter evening in 2017. My best friend is modeling for me in some of the pictures, while some fishermen posed ignorantly, hence their backs on the pictures. Notice how the Christmas lights seem to hang from the sky like a carpet made of little stars. I will always cherish those holidays. Happy New Year and hopefully in the future we can travel again and you can visit and photograph the “Umbrellas”.

Minolta dynax 7000i (AF 35-105mm). Washi Z 400/135 BW Film. 24 exp, 35mm film.

♠ Ode to the Now ♠

When our lives were happening,

we couldn’t stand still.

Now that our lives just are,

we cannot move forward.

 

Embracing Silence is all we can do,

embracing Stillness is all we can do,

embracing ourselves is all we can do,

embracing our weaknesses is all we can do,

 

for us,

our families,

the world,

now is the time to look inward

then gaze outward and

just BE.


Photo: Praktica MTL 5 (1.8/50). Kodak Gold 200, 35mm film. Groningen, the Netherlands. April 2020.

The sense of the self

In the sense of the self who lingers throughout a stretched life of possible or potential changes, I feel the forgotten need to blossom and rot at times of great self-consciousness, like moss itself; blooming next to moist and damp atmospheres, but rotting at the same time on the surfaces it decides to conquer. Whether blooming or rotting, this need is there, under all layers of suppressed dreams, prominent in the dark, pushing all the other needs deeper into the subconscious tunnels of the brain. What provokes this need to appear – mostly at random moments – are the times of blurred clarity I never managed to pull through. While I sing, I dive into the postcards I had once received and dream endlessly under pink skies, about the nomad life I always thought I was destined for.

The compromise in life speaks to me at times, it sings to me, those songs of experience we sometimes forget they exist. I dive and drown my own self into the emptiness of life, into the vanity of expectations. And since expectations are hard to murder, they keep transforming into nasty birds, ready to inhabit any free and pure thought jumping out of us. Because the me becomes an us, and our minds interwind under the moonlights of our lives, under all those false images projected by the societies we never agreed on growing into.

Deadly thoughts of escapism could be liberating, but sometimes poisonous for the healthy mind, we state we own. Building up a life, under the shadows of architectural monsters – our societies – is not healthy by any form of nature; it is destructive and pointless, it is empty. Empty of the life itself, of emotions and soothing words created under inspiration. The gap between the life we have and the life we dream about should not exist. It should be trivial, small, and insignificant. It should not have a voice or a shape, it should not even be discussed. Because the true nature of things derives from real freedom to act, dream, create and be, not who we want to be, but who we truly are.


Photo: Praktica MTL 5 (1.8/50). Kodak Gold 200, 35mm film. Groningen, the Netherlands. April 2020.

Refuge

Layers upon layers of restlessness,

upon layers of unburnt stars,

of overheated supernovas

and overflowing dark matter.

 

Poetry,

is my only refuge now.

 

I can’t look myself in the mirror anymore,

no reflection is looking back.

Eyes are dried out – forgotten –

almost like dying stars

we only see in our dreams.

 

The rooftop has fallen

on us

and our dreams,

it has ‘2020’ carved on it

and its debris attacks the silence

while we laugh at our own jokes.

 

If only I had time to read more.

If only I had time to watch more movies.

If only I had time to catch up on my to-do lists.

Now there is time,

but no soul to put into it.

 

The sky is dark,

like the inside of my room.

Words escape my mouth

but bounce back at the walls around me

and enter my mouth again.

 

No sounds,

No world.

 

My jaw is broken now,

the lines are blurred,

and stars flicker above me

in the night sky.

They remind me that life

is like Silence:

You fee it the most

when it is the only thing you hear.


Photo: Nikon F75 (28-100mm). LomoChrome Purple, 100-400, 35mm film. Groningen, the Netherlands. May 2020.

Purple Bike Rides, Groningen 2020 (Lomo Purple 400)

Locations: Biking around Hoornseplas, Stadspark, Groningen, the Netherlands. May 2020.

Nikon F75 (28-100mm). LomoChrome Purple, 100-400, 35mm film.

 

De Onlanden, Groningen 2020 (Ektar 100)

Locations: De Onlanden, Groningen, the Netherlands, May 2020.

Minolta Dynax 7000i (AF 35-105mm). Kodak Ektar, 100 ISO, 35mm film.

The Marvellous Colors of Kodak Ektar 100

Locations:  Schöhsee (Plön), Görnitz (Grebin), Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, June 2019 –  Tsagarada, Pelion, August 2019 – Kipos village, Kozani, Greece, July 2019.

Minolta Dynax 7000i (AF 35-105mm). Kodak Ektar, 100 ISO, 35mm film.

The accidents, Leeuwarden 2014

This was the first film I ever used with an old Pentax I found in a secondhand shop. I would go on using that camera for at least 2 years. I am not sure what happened with this film, but my guess is that it wasn’t inserted properly in the beginning, resulting in some beautiful “accidents”. I was very disappointed with my first film photography attempt, however, later on, I came to love these photographs. They are truly unique and very poetic.

Locations: Vrijheidswijk and Saint Boniface church in Leeuwarden. The Netherlands, 2014.

Pentax P30, 35mm with Pentax-A 50mm F/2 SMC Lens. Kodak Gold film 200.

 

Paper Flowers

I walked past our street today and saw flowers blossoming on the walls of the building. Bright pink and blue colored flowers were there, like the ones you used to hang above our fireplace every spring morning. You would wake up overwhelmed and struggle to reach your armchair. But, you would ultimately sit down and then open your drawer, determined to get out the paper for the flowers. You would do that straight out of bed, even without drinking coffee. Later on, while holding a hot cup of coffee in your hands, you would admire your own dedication to your little ritual. ‘I am never patient enough to finish anything’ you would say. And I would agree, but I would also kindly remind you of the things you actually accomplish through the day. After getting the hard paper for the flowers, you would take the patterns of a lily and a chrysanthemum and you would carefully and meticulously create something beautiful with it. The flowers were dashing. So simple and so pretty.

The first time you made flowers, right after you came back from the hospital, you thought it was a silly, childish thing. But when you saw how much it helped you, you stopped degrading it. I loved it instantly. Seeing you having something that sparked joy in your yellowed eyes, was all I needed to start believing again. Believe that you would make it. After all those hospital visits and the masks on your face. The looks of pity you were receiving when you lost your hair, and that moment when the doctors said it will not be easy. You were strong and fierce for months, but after the last chemo, you almost gave up. Your eyesight was very damaged and you struggled even with the simple daily things. After a while, you became so tired that you couldn’t even move your hands. You wanted so badly to touch those bouquets next to your bedside table. The texture of flowers soothed you, you used to whisper at night. But that wasn’t enough, you wanted to really look at those flowers. That is when I started asking people to bring you vibrant colored ones. In that way you might enjoy them better, I thought. Later you told me how much it meant to you, to see those beautiful faded colors next to you. It was your everything when you felt you had nothing.

And now, here I am, looking at the real flowers bursting through our wall. It’s so weird. You always created paper flowers to remind you of those difficult times, and the same day you pass away, I see colorful flowers popping on the wall of our building. You would have loved that. You would have laughed so loud with this ironic beauty, the whole neighborhood would have come out to see what’s wrong. You would then smile at them, tell them it’s all good and we would slowly go back inside to finish our tea.

Photo: Kipos, Kozani, Greece. October 2018. Minolta Dynax 7000i, Earl Grey Lomography Film 100, 35mm film.

 

That point between the shoulder blades

That point between the shoulder blades is
where pain sits and multiplies,
like millions of mosquito bites
it itches. Day in, day out.
You can’t lay down or sleep on your back.
You always have to keep your head down,
looking at the floor,
at the ground where
you took your first steps.
The point between your shoulder blades feels cold,
like icebergs have been formed there,
since the beginning of time,
without you knowing it.
But deep down you knew, all along
about the pain between those shoulder blades.
Now it’s part of you, you can’t imagine your life
without the pain.
Those icebergs never melt,
those mosquito bites never heal,
you need to keep your head down to the ground
and count the blessings in your heart.
And then the pain will transform
and the ice will start melting
while a hand is warming that spot
between your shoulder blades.

{Inspired by M. Oliver’s “When Death Comes” and that chronic pain between my shoulders.}

Photo: Leeuwarden, Friesland, June 2015. Minolta Dynax 7000i, Kodak Film 200, 35mm film.