The palm forest of Preveli river in Rethymnon territory got burnt in 2010. It's Crete's second biggest palm forest with the endemic species "Phoenix Theophrastii". Photographer and architect Charalampos Kydonakis (a.k.a. Dirty Harry, hihaaah) lives in the area and documented the aftermath of this natural disaster. With great pleasure we present the first article of many to come on this inspiring artist!
"The more I shoot photos, the more I realize what I want from photography and at the same time the more I get confused about what I want."
What got you into photography and what makes you continue to photograph?
Maybe photography is an easier way for me to remember or express , it 's easier for me to speak with images rather than words.
You've photographed the palm trees on your island Crete, why did you choose this subject?
Everyone was afraid that this fire would set the end for the the forest, fortunately the palm trees started to be re-born out of their ashes some months afterwards. Additionally , the intruder beatle 'Rhynchophorus ferrugineus' (red palm weevil) that came to Crete through palms from other countries. Transferred here for the constructions of the 2004 Olympic games, it's threatening the palm trees of the island with total extinction.
Do you have a "favourite" palm tree to photograph (or one that has extremely impressed you?)
Maybe the most depressing image to my eyes is the one of this palm tree , which used to stand on the center of my town 's fortress up on the hill. It was very tall , it could be seen from all over the town around. Today it vanished after the weavil attack.
Do you have any goals with your work or is it simply a way of meditating life?
For the moment the only thing I enjoy is shooting photos and editing them after some time. In the future I don' t know if there will be a goal. We'll see.
"It's easier for me to speak with images rather than words."
What kind of shooting set-up do you use (camera, lens, etc).
The year that passsed I destroyed 4 cameras , a canon 500D ,a 60D, and 2 underwater ones , those were not so resistant to water. Now i am left with only one; a markII and I shoot with that or sometimes with the mobile phone. In my camera I use the manual settings and mostly shoot with a 35mm pinhole plastic lens.
Did you ever experience any danger or exciting adventures while shooting?
Sometimes people I shot had wild reactions , but relatively these incidents are very few. In my country I improvise to handle such a situation, in other countries I speak greek when someone wants explanations, he doesn't understand and usually goes without the explanations.
A funny incident happened to me here in Rethymnon about a year ago:
I shot a girl out of a night club at about 3:00 am. The girl told this to the club 's doorman and he called the cops. They came and asked me to get in their jeep and we went to the police station to ask their questions, check my id card etc.
I listened there for half an hour the cops instructions about what I should shoot, all instructions based not on any law explanation but on people 's reactions and their own taste, that was the most surreal part: listening the cops' lecture about aesthetics..!