Where families meet

Book Review

Title: Nisyros, History and Architecture of an Aegean Island

Author: Richard Economakis with Photography Cornelis de Vries

Publisher: Athens, Melissa, 2001,

English ISBN: 960-204-232-X
Greek ISBN: 960-204-231-1

Reviewed by Dr. Paul Campanis

This book by Economakis and de Vries is the best thing I have read over the last several years on Nisyro. Mostly you get badly translated rehashes of some history and local lore. This book is heavily researched and Richard Economakis, a son of Mandraki, has so much love and care in his words. The words overwhelmed me on occasion. His words are artful and deep.
Dear Kornelios de Vries is an adopted child of Nisyro who does beautiful pictures. I spent my early years of work at Polaroid and have a kind of feel for photos. I am no expert, but a mere amateur, a lover of sorts. I love his photos and would not know where to start in praise of his work. The pictures of doors, the lone tree facing out on a stormy sea, the flowers at the kastro. Where do you start? He is a complement to the text of Richard and the wisdom of his words. The photos bring me right back to the homeplace. What more could one ask of a photograph?
I remember meeting Ansel Adams and hanging a bit with him when I worked at Polaroid. I had no idea then of his place in American photography but I now have seen many of his photos of the American West and have a sense of the grandeur he describes. I am more prone to care about the WPA (Works Progress Administration, the agency created by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935 to help with the economic depression in the USA at that time) photos of other American photographers who told the times of hardship and the Depression.
What I look for in a photo mainly is caring. When caring is present it seems to me the picture does its work. Like when I water the flowers in my yard or when I clean the bathroom sink. The picture has work to do. I am not prone to the icy grandeur Adams gets from his work. It just does not move me. But other pictures do tremendously. I rush to a good library to find books of photos, travel, historical, fashion whatever.
In a way I live in photos, they move me so. I simply cannot live without them. You can imagine then what Kornelios's pictures do to me, a child of Nisyro who has gone there for some many years now.

Dr. Paul Campanis