Athens and the Greek Islands: A Photographic Essay

The Photography Rocks group at the Acropolis in Athens. Michael Fulks is on the right. Elizabeth Powis who does the book reviews for Apogee Photo Magazine is on the left.

This year, during my college’s spring break, I had the pleasure to embark on a tour of Greece, which included Athens and surrounds, as well as a cruise of several of the major Greek Islands. I am a full time instructor at Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood, Colorado. As faculty advisor of the campus photo club, Photography Rocks, I plan a photographic expedition each year, where we take along students and staff from the college. In the past we have traveled to Italy, Ireland, Germany and Austria. These year we took our adventures to Greece.

Although the trip is also offered for college credit, most of the participants go just for a fun get-away and cultural experience. But this year, since our small group of 7 were all avid photographers, it made the trip especially pleasurable–our common photography interests took center stage. We all looked forward to not only visiting our destinations, but we couldn’t wait to see what photographic opportunities might await us.

The trip was organized through EF Tours with the help of our coordinator, Jennifer Wyatt. The trip was 10 days, and included a four-day cruise to some of Greece’s most famous islands. After spending several incredible fast-paced days in Athens exploring many of archeological sites for which Greece is famous (Delphi, the Temple of Poseidon, and the Acropolis), we were off on our cruise.

All photos: Copyright © Michael Fulks

We visited many of the South Aegean Sea destinations:

The beautiful island of Mykonos is one of the most cosmopolitan islands in Greece. According to Greek mythology, it was here where the battle between Zeus and Titan took place.

Patmos, though small in both land mass and population, it has two pilgrimage and tourist destinations–the Monastery of St. John and the Cave of the Apocalypse. It is one of the most beautiful islands in the South Aegean Sea.

Rhodes, though small in land mass, is truly a vision and rich in cultural history.

Crete, which is very mountainous and the largest of the Greek Islands, proved to be not only gorgeous but an exciting adventure.

Santorini, which is the remains of a volcanic explosion, draws you into its amazing ancient ruins and geological history. Along with its spectacular beauty, it has an active nightlife.

Kuşadası, meaning “bird island”, is actually in the Aegean area of Turkey. It boasts its wonderfully wide sandy beaches, turquoise colored water and the ancient city of Ephesus.

It was a lot to cover in four days, but despite the short amount of time we spent in each location, we all came back with hundreds, if not thousands, of photos.

All photos: Copyright © Michael Fulks

In reviewing some of the photos I wanted to share with you in this essay, I wrestled once again with the “why’s and what’s” of my photography. This was also a subject of much discussion among the photographers on this trip. There seemed to be a conflict of purposes. Do we risk creating photos that will have meaning only to us? Like the photos of our Aunt Edna’s last vacation–photos that used to bore us to tears as we were subjected to lengthy slideshows in her living room. Sure, the pictures had a lot of meaning to her. They were of her friends in places that were full of wonder and emotion to her. But not to us–they didn’t have any meaning. They were just her pictures!

On the other hand, we wanted to document the trip for ourselves even though we might never share some of them with others. But we also wanted to capture “good” photographs–photographs that could stand on their own, not as someone’s emotional baggage. And then there was what we saw as an additional problem. As we were going to some of the most famous areas in the world, we knew there would hardly be a picture we took that had not been taken before. Was it even possible to capture images that were unique to our own styles and sensibilities?

And finally, in a group of seven, would we all return home to find we all had pictures of the same thing, captured in the same way?

In the age of digital photography it is easy to say: let’s do it all! Shoot everything in sight, and try for the documentary, the artistic, and maybe the just plain silly. As a result, all of us had hundreds and even several thousand images. But we did find that because we were all individuals, not all of our images were the same, often reflecting individual design and orientation.

In choosing the few images to show you here, I decided on a combination of images. Some of them satisfied my artistic streak, while others were documentary in nature. Many of these I have already printed for display, and I am quite pleased with them. I hope you enjoy the images and get a little taste of our journey.

by Michael Fulks

All written content (and most images) in these articles are copyrighted by the authors. Copyrighted material from Apogee Photo Mag should not be used elsewhere without seeking the authors permission.

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