In this stunning collection of photographs from the 1950s and 1960s, Robert McCabe captures the hard, but simple, the life of an era that has passed irrevocably.
Port workers, mules and travelers in the port of Gialos.
Today Santorini has about 2.5 million visitors a year. But when photographer Robert McCabe and his brother arrived there in 1954, they were the only visitors to the island. In this stunning collection of photographs from the 1950s and 1960s, McCabe captures the harsh but simple life of an era that never goes back, as the changes that took place on the island were rapid and relentless.
McCabe's contact with our country began when he was studying in Princeton with his older brother. The second had a friend, a Greek, Petros Nomikos, originally from Santorini, who invited them to come to Greece for ten days.
We quickly realized that we were the only visitors to the island. This sounds unrealistic today, but in 1954 it was not at all strange to be the only visitor to an Aegean island.
"When Charles and I first arrived on the island, we were told that its population was about 12,000, mostly rural families who grew grapes, tomatoes or wheat, as well as fishermen, quarrymen and sailors, who worked as snouts or captains. who travelled around the world under the Greek flag.
We climbed to Fira, the capital of the island –244 meters above sea level–, through a tedious stepped, almost vertical, stone path; (They say that in the rest of Greece they threatened their mules to take their feet, otherwise they would send them to Santorini.) Arriving in Fira we realized that the villages we saw were not only a thin strip of buildings at the edge of the Caldera, but also extended towards back, on the back of the ancient volcano.
We quickly realized that we were the only visitors to the island. This sounds unrealistic today, but in 1954 it was not at all strange to be the only visitor to an Aegean island. That year, 8,000 visitors arrived across the country, "
notes McCabe in the album's preface.
McCabe's photographs are complemented by two essays by journalist Margarita Pournara. One poetically recalls her grandmother's childhood in Santorini and the other explains the geological forces that gave this volcanic island its dramatic form.
Baptisms in Emborio.
Christoforos Zorzos or "Karoutsos" from Pyrgos in Santo deals with his donkey and the tomato harvest. He was president of the cooperative for many years.