Anogia Village – Cretan Authentic Experiences
Joan Alvado: The Spanish photographer who loved Anogia and made this village a part of his heart.
The award-winning and highly interesting photographic project, of Joan Alvado, a 39-year-old photographer from Spain, “travels” to “his own” Anogia.
His first contact with the unknown – for him – the traditional village of Crete, was made in 2016 through the project “Crete Photo Experience”. It is a long-awaited and extremely important for the island – and not only – photographic Project that started in 2015 and expects the creation of modern photographic archives for Crete, its history and culture, as well as the formation of an alternative form of tourism, and not to mention of course its unique Cretan “Antikristo” lamp dishes, in the photographic depiction live like a local concept in Crete.
The project is under the artistic supervision of the photographer, visual artist, and art teacher, Maria Choulaki.
She was the person who “introduced” to Joan Alvado the village of Anogia and from then on he made this village a “piece” of his heart. Joan met its people, trusted them, was inspired by them, and traveled to Anogia another 4 times.
Joan Alvado spoke at neakriti.gr press about the project “Crete Photo Experience”, about his work, but also about the Anogia he loved, about the experiences he had gained there, as well as about the moments that will remain forever “engraved In memory and in his heart.
Did you know about Anogia before you came?
“No, in fact, I had not heard anything about Anogia before I came. Even when I learned that eventually, I would visit Anogia through this Project, I did not find much information about the village. This is because sometimes I want my ideas, my impressions of someplace to be based on my personal experiences. The only thing I remember reading about Anogia was for Ideon Andron, the experience of Anogia during the Second World War and the fact that the basic occupation of the people there is livestock farming … I knew only the basics.”
Why did you choose Anogia and not another village in Crete?
“In fact, I did not know anything about this place. I could say it was a random event … but we know there are no accidental incidents in this life. So, instead of throwing it in luck, let’s say that Maria Choulaki, knowing that I was the creator of a similar Photographic Project, School of Shepard, sent me to Anogia.
That project was aimed at creating a new outlook on livestock farming in Spain today, as I was photographing a new generation of people who started working as breeders. Knowing this, Maria thought that if she would “send me” to a place of intense fodder culture, it would fit into my interests. Finally, of course, my interest was not limited to livestock farming, as Anogia inspired me for many other reasons.”
What similarities do you find between Anogia and other villages in Spain based on livestock farming?
“On the one hand, I found several similarities between Anogia and some villages in Spain and Catalonia based on livestock, but Anogia has something special that makes them different: They are on the mountain of an island. This makes me think they are doubled “isolated,” so preserving traditions and cultural heritage is more intense than any other part of Crete. I find this unique.
What did you like in Anogia so you’ve already visited it five times?
“The first thing that made me fall in love with Anogia was that there is hardly any tourist development in the village and they have remained “pure”. Anogia is a very special place where the presence of the past, the presence of history … is “present” in the everyday life of people more than any other part of the world I have found.
I like this kind of “connections” and experiences between past and present civilizations and my project in Crete has this subject: History, mythology, gastronomy, or better the “connections” between the modern individual and his beliefs about the past. Surely Psiloritis was the most suitable ground for exploring these “links”.
Are you planning another trip to Anogia and Crete in general?
For sure! I am “tied up” with Anogia and I would like to continue visiting this heaven on earth. I still think if I need more photos for my project or not … In any case, I feel that I have gained a very close connection with the village and its people … Moreover, somehow I have to share my photographic work with Anogia … The only sure thing is that many and nice things are expected about me and Anogia in the future.