Photographing Greece in Black and White

In the mind of most people, Greece conveys images of color: whitewashed houses with dark green window shades against the blue sky and the blue sea, pink bougainvilleas hanging from walls, green-brown bushes dotting the hillsides, pink and orange sunsets.

There is much to be said, however, for photographing Greece in black and white. During most of the summer, Greece is a land of stark contrasts, visually speaking. The harsh sunlight hits the white walls of buildings and makes them shine even whiter. Darkening the sky with a judicious use of a polarizing filter and then maybe selecting a black and white conversion that simulates (if you are using digital, otherwise you can use the real thing) the usage of a red filter can make it even darker.

Church in Santorini
Santorini

The simple architecture of the Cyclades islands, with its cubed houses and geometric churches with very little decoration has a very graphical nature that is enhanced by the removal of color.

Panagia Gremiotissa, Ios, Greece
Panagia Gremiotissa, Ios

I remember spending quite some time around a small chapel on the island of Sikinos. After getting a wide, establishing shot, I walked around it for some time, trying to capture the sensuous curves of its back side and the porous nature of its surface with shades of grey.

Sikinos, Greece
Sikinos
Sikinos, Greece
Sikinos
Sikinos, Greece
Sikinos

The ubiquitous, arched bell towers cast distinct shadows on the roofs of churches and on the walls of adjacent buildings.

Santorini
Santorini
Folegandros
Folegandros
Santorini
Santorini

Another geometric pattern that deserves a black&white treatment is provided by the pedestrian streets, with their dark stones separated by white mortar.

Ios, Greece
In the streets of Ios

Greece in black and white reveals a side of itself that many tourists fail to see and that harkens back to a simpler past.

Discover the Light of Greece. Photo Tour of the Cyclades Islands
Discover the Light of Greece. Photo Tour of the Cyclades Islands

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