PHOTOGRAPHY AND POEMS
Copyright @ 2018 Text and Photos Niall Finn
WELCOME TO VISIONS OF CRETE
Since the spring of 2014, the island of Crete has been my home.
It and its people, both Greek and non-
These are not all about Crete, though many recount odd things that have happened to me or to friends, but I am convinced my soul would not have been free enough to write them anywhere else.
This website is therefore a double window into the Crete I experience – through photographs and through poetry.
I hope you enjoy one or other or both. Provided due acknowledgement is made, you are welcome, should you so wish, to quote from the poems, for which I explicitly claim copyright. Some have already appeared in my book “Poems from Crete” and a second collection is in preparation.
It is my intention to add new photos and poems at more or less regular intervals.
Virtually all landscapes around the world have been affected and altered by man – so no complete distinction can be drawn between cultural landscape and natural landscape.
This gallery, however, focuses on views dominated by the land itself. As you would expect from an island, the magic often lies in where the land ends and the sea takes over – Crete’s beaches, cliffs, capes and coves. Or where rugged mountains are gouged by ravines dry in summer and a pouring torrent in the winter rains. Or where groves of olive or citrus trees give way to sparse grazing for sheep and goats.
The forces shaping the landscape have always fascinated me, perhaps because my own father studied geography at Cambridge before becoming a land surveyor. He would often explain features we came across on car journeys. My own degrees are in geography and it was a subject I loved teaching.
FLORA AND FAUNA GALLERY
The many beautiful Cretan native plants and flowers– particularly vibrant in the spring – are complemented by a wide range of species, from all over the world, that thrive in this climate, bougainvillea vines and eucalyptus trees being just two examples. Crete is overwhelmingly an agricultural region and its sheep and goats can be strikingly coloured and charmingly inquisitive – as well as incredible alpinists.
Insects (bees and butterflies especially) are fascinating – and frustrating – subjects. The complexity and sheer beauty of their forms is staggering, especially if “caught in the act” of visiting a flower.
I am not a botanist or an entomologist so please write to me if you have definitely identified a plant or insect in one of the photographs, so I can share the information with others.
In Europe, most of what you see – and therefore what is in a photograph – comprises people or manmade structures. Buildings, villages and towns, bridges, roads, harbours, and so on, all form the cultural landscape. Particularly in Crete, these may be the legacy of many different cultures.
Some buildings, like the small chapels and churches that dot the ridges and valleys of the island, may be beautifully maintained. Others are in poor condition or even complete ruins. Crete’s fantastic wealth of archaeological sites features in this gallery, as do examples of the splendid interior decoration of Greek Orthodox churches.
Because I live in western Crete, both landscape galleries are dominated by this western end of the island but eastern Crete has its own, very different, beauty that I intend to explore more thoroughly.