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Rhodes Old Town

Rhodes Old Town

Luck will get most of us an occasional good photo, but what separates photographers from camera owners (meow!) is the ability to see pictures – everywhere – and be the master of a situation whenever it presents itself.
In the vast majority of cases, this seeingness develops over the years, as you narrow down the number of times the picture you actually imagined, turns out to be nothing like the one on the developed film or digital file.

Another aspect of photography that eludes many, is that great pictures are often the product of an idea: even in the most quick-fire situations, there are myriad possibilities, and this image is the culmination of quite a few nights of shooting variations on an idea. rhodes_old_town_1

By chance, I’d landed in Rhodes for the Greek Orthodox Easter (I think I’d been to – or was heading towards – Mount Athos, on the Halkidiki Peninsula) and was staying at a small pension (was it called Steve Kephalas?) at the top of this very atmospheric street, in Rhodes Old Town.

The street had been decked out with the Stations of the Cross and the palms in one of these pictures were from Palm Sunday – as soon I saw these elements I knew there was something special, if I could only get a unique (and balanced) mixture of these elements.

I spent a few nights playing with the light and different variations, using way too much film, when I stopped one of the Vespa’s buzzing through the narrow streets. The driver agreed to set off just as I opened my shutter – his front light lit the cobbles, and – shezam! – his tail light pretty much lit up the picture.

Rhodes Old Town at Easter. This is one I prepared earlier, which is fine… but not the main event. Wonder if that’s the Vespa that lit up my picture?

I did this a few times, but some of the other drivers must have been pissed because they were all over the road in a frenzy of jagged light.
This guy, whoever he was, did the perfect run in one take.

When shooting slide film (unlike the digit) you don’t know if you’re ideas have come to fruition until you get the films processed, which was usually when I arrived back home. But, like I’ve said, you learn from your mistakes (and mistakes on transparency film were expensive), until the day comes when you can master a given situation, because you’ve been there, seen there, and mastered it before – that’s when you know you’re not just a camera owner (meow!)… you are a bona fide photographer!

Obviously, when I saw that this image had lived up to the idea (and more) I was over the moon – still am – and it will stand the test of time, particularly as all things must pass and this street has no doubt changed forever.
And even if it hasn’t, it only looked like this for a fleeting moment in time.