+Mythical Trees

Category: Minimal Nature

Location: Greece.

Year: 2016

Deeply rooted in the ancient Greek land, with bodies standing upright on the holy ground and branches stretching towards the sky, trees with emblematic forms are decoded and bring to light mysterious dimensions through this photographic project, revealing their mythical nature and, inevitably, connecting our world to the one where supernatural creatures live.
The forests I visited are in Greece, near ancient Olympia, namely the magnificent Strofilia forest and that of Kaiafas which expands for a lot of kilometers along the coastline of the district of Ilia. Famed natural hot springs, known for their use in the ancient times, are surrounded by the beautiful lake of Kaiafas and constitute a special attraction for tourists and excursionists all year round. The forest, just a few metres from the sea shore, was considered to be the birthplace of many mythical creatures with a divine origin; the homeland of the pretty but mysterious nymphs who were born by the trees in the forests, woods and groves; The Dryads and the Amadryads whose name means “tree and woman at the same time”. Although the nymphs were born in the sky, they ended up living in exquisite forests, rivers and leafy meadows. In this rich flora of the Greek land, the pines, firs and oaks came into existence and grew with the birth and the life of a Nymph. When the time came for a Nymph to die, her tree on the ground withered first. Once, a nymph dancing with the other nymphs, turned pale as she noticed her oak tree wobbling, full of concern she stopped dancing. Rapidly, the bark went bad, the branches fell and at the same time the nymph’s soul flew away, saying goodbye to the sunlight. The nymphs are delighted when it rains as the trees are fed or cry when the oak trees lose their leaves. According to Greek mythology, these trees were strong and lived for many many years while it was prohibitive for the human beings to touch them with an axe as they were considered sacred and also the groves they formed were sites dedicated to Gods. That’s why whoever protected and took care of them had the nymphs’ blessing whereas if a tree was cut down, the nymph moved to another one and punished the disrespectful. Sometimes, though, she preferred wandering in the forest and she became a Dryad. This belief originated the distinction between the Dryads and the Amadryads; The Dryads were wandering nymphs whereas the Amadryads lived along with the tree and actually were the soul of it. They had the gift of divination and inspired poets and musicians. So, fairly, the Greeks dedicated the “Orphic Nymphs’ Hymn” to them.
These trees even today keep a vivid depiction of a life painting. With their perpetual motion they give a poetic mood to the human soul. They create images that capture one’s look. They evoke various feelings in the viewer. They fire his imagination and transfer him to the mythical paths of the historical past. Combined with the historic significance of the place, as according to Greek mythology these forests were connected with the legendary Labors of Heracles and Goddess Artemis as well, they carry you away, somewhere between sky and earth in a magnificent lyrical mood, satisfying the innermost human need for direct contact with Mother Nature.

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