We’ve all seen them—beautiful travel magazine spreads and tourist agency posters featuring picturesque Greek isles bathed in sunset light, their whitewashed houses, blue domed churches and endless beaches caressed by tranquil aquamarine waters. It’s travel porn, plain and simple: visual love letters to the part of your brain that creates daydreams and fosters romantic getaway promises.
Don’t be bamboozled by all the glossy travel magazine propaganda. You know deep down in your heart that it couldn’t possibly be that beautiful. Not really…
But let’s be honest, you want to believe the fairy tales of exotic islands and sunsets spun with gold. Otherwise, you’d have to go back to daydreaming about Ryan Gosling, George Clooney or whoever your age-appropriate celebrity crush may be.
Exhibit A – This is the first photo we took in Santorini. Admittedly, the sunset was magnificent and the whitewashed old church was attractive, with its adorable little bells leaning to one side and it being silhouetted against the sea…If you’re into that sort of thing.
Exhibit B – Our second day in Santorini was less inspiring than the first. Late in the afternoon, out of sheer desperation, hoping to find something beautiful, I climbed onto the roof of someone’s home and shimmied onto a shaky ledge with a frightening twenty-foot drop to either side.
With no room to expand my tripod like a ‘proper’ photographer, I was forced to extend one leg, place it on a two-inch railing and lean out into the abyss to make sure I got the horizon straight. It was a blind shot; I couldn’t even see the camera’s display. So it was no surprise when I offloaded the images and saw this.
Exhibit C (Group Evidence) – During the next five days of self-imposed confinement in this forsaken place, we soldiered on—despite the blue skies, warm temperatures, and obviously beautiful conditions—not unlike brave photo journalists who venture to far and dangerous corners of the globe to bring the harsh realities and dark secrets of those desperate places to light. Like them, we made these images in the hopes of one day having the opportunity to publicly dispel the myths and misinformation surrounding Santorini once and for all.
So, YES, maybe we had a little fun with this article, and NO, perhaps Santorini is not the drab, colorless and uninviting place we may have led you to believe. The truth is: Santorini is one of the most stunning places we’ve had the good fortune to visit. The architecture of its cliff top villages is unique, free form, interesting from every angle. The sunsets are world class: the golden light casting onto rugged cliffs and whitewashed houses seems otherworldly.
Truth be told, Santorini is a photographer’s candy store. Sweeping, picturesque vistas and postcard-worthy scenes abound along the labyrinthine walking paths criss-crossing its hilltop villages.
If the magazine spreads, travel posters or perhaps even these photos call to the daydreaming wanderer living within you, then you owe it to yourself to find a way to get here. Not for a superficial cruise ship stopover, but for a week or a month. Stay, slow down, and let yourself melt into this place.
Who knows, maybe you’ll run into a new daydream while you’re at it?