I have always believed that Chios does not reveal her beauties easily, knowing how she keeps her secrets thoroughly concealed. I think it is an especially delightful aspect for a small place like Chios to captivate one both with its variety and differentiability, “compelling” one to travel through, to stroll around its paths and not merely to visit it.
When I was 27 years old I returned at Chios, the island where I was born and raised with the intention to photograph the whole island and maybe produce a book afterwards. I bought a small car and the whole year I was wondering around the island. I visited untouched beaches and tourist beaches; remote villages and fortress villages, embarked on caiques and entered shipyards, visited sheepfolds and mastic crops, cafes and monasteries as well as hiked along both known and unknown routes. Each route was connected in a strange way with the previous one; without knowing, I followed the paths I already knew.
I started taking photographs without knowing which direction I had to follow, what I should depict and, probably, what I had to avoid. Bearing this in mind, I let myself be carried away, driven more by instinct and less by rationales related to the objective depiction of a certain place. The layout of the route has always existed, but what would happen on the way was made from the dreams-making material: unexpected encounters in unexpected places. Travelling throughout the place where you were born and raised, the place you consider familiar, it is like travelling in a wonderland again and again : you may know the way of course, but wonders never stop happening.
When my photographic expeditions came to an end and editing started, I realised that I wanted to talk about this Chios that hides itself in its corners: a place whose truths one may feel only if one comes quite close to it. My anxiety had been from the outset not to beautify this special place, make it appear more “tourist-like”, but to record what I thought was real; what I thought was beautiful; what I thought Chios itself is like.