Situated at an altitude of 850m ASL on the island of Crete and surrounded by mountains, the Lassithi plateau is a place of sheer beauty. The remains of wind-pumps, are scattered all over the plateau. A ghost glimpse of the old glory when 13,000 of these white-sailed pumps dominated the view, producing power of over 5MW. This abandoned wind farm was created in the 50’s by the farmers wanting to harness the low wind potential so as to irrigate the fields. Born out of necessity and not an outcome of an elaborate long-term economic and political planning, as modern wind farms are, it became one of the first farms of this size in the world. At that time, wind pumps were considered expensive and the Agricultural Bank financed many farmers and the debt was usually repaid within two years. Most of the plateau wind-pumps were active until the early 80’s when they were replaced by the hassle-free diesel pumps. Although cultivation is still present, for the elders of the plateau, the wrecked wind pumps are a constant cause of grim sorrowful thoughts.
Panos Charalampidis and Mary Chairetaki first visited plateau on a day trip six years ago. While driving through the maze of the dirt roads, they came across an enchanting land. For the next five years, the plateau became a photographic fixation. Winters are harsh, cold and very humid, unlike the weather in the rest of Crete. Wondering among the fields, at the crack of dawn, they witnessed the plane turn to a theatre stage. The first light and often the mist, changes the old windmills into actors performing their own personal drama. Since Panos and Mary had never experienced the plateau former glory, they were intrigued by this strange post-agricultural scenery. While photographing, they often felt a child’s joy, as if in a fairy-tale, when the hero finds a door giving to a world hidden at the back of his closet. This series of B/W humanless photos are an attempted testimony to the secret life of the plateau.
Check out more projects by Panos Charalampidis and Mary Chairetaki on their website: http://www.panos-mary.com/
Few Words about Panos and Mary
Panos Charalampidis and Mary Chairetaki are a Greek photographic duo. They met in 2008, due to their mutual interest in photography. They investigate the world together, sharing thoughts and skills, while creating a common photographic vision. Their recent artistic work combines a strong personal perspective with that of a documentary. They like to be committed to long-term projects, immersing into the world of their subjects and closely connecting to them. They are interested in exploring the social, religious and cultural identity of provincial communities or special and small environments. They practice photography in order to capture, interpret and convey the world of their subjects, while contemplating on their similarities and differences from the photographers themselves. This procedure simultaneously serves -in parallel- their artistic expression.
Mary was born in Heraklion, Crete. She is currently employed as a secondary school teacher. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the Polytechnic School of Patras and her MA degree in visual perception at Graphic Arts and Multimedia. She has been practicing painting since childhood and has always been fascinated by the ability of photography to combine realistic power and pictorial virtues.
Panos was born in Mytilene, Lesvos. He studied physics at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He holds a PhD in environmental engineering and he is specialized in the application of photographic technology to environmental science. He came in contact with photography for the first time, during his academic research. He is intrigued by the potential of the medium to act as a research tool probing into problems, where traditional science seems to fail.