Panos Charalampidis & Mary Chairetaki

The Lassithi plateau, situated at 840 meter above sea level on the island of Crete, is a natural fortress with a particularly fertile land, surrounded by mountains. History runs deep here. First inhabited during the Neolithic age, it became a major cult place of the Minoan civilization.

Cornucopia (horn of plenty), is a personal artistic research on the plateau’s elusive identity. This rich land which has nourished the inhabitants of Crete for centuries is the same place that according to the myth Zeus was born in a cave. According to another myth it is the bridal bed of Europe.

The plateau, like other Greek rural areas, has been under economic stress long before the generalized crisis. Young people are fleeting away, and the population is shrinking. As a result, most of the remaining people have become resilient to the ever-diminishing life prospects and live in their own environments. Being born and raised in cities, we photograph this agrarian world in order to understand. The contemporary image of the plateau is the result of both humans and nature. It is impossible to comprehend this place, without acknowledging this fundamental interaction. Likewise, the portraits of Cornucopia are an inseparable part of the landscape.

— Panos Charalampidis and Mary Chairetaki, Crete, Greece

Panos Lambrou

© Panos Lambrou

When I go about my errands every Saturday morning I notice a number of vacant commercial buildings, which were occupied by a variety of businesses that have closed as the result of the economic downturn and have remained empty anywhere from six months to the present. The odd thing is they have been maintained as if they were still occupied.

I keep thinking about all the people that used to work there and have lost their jobs, the merchants who have lost their revenue and profits, the building owners who have lost rents and maybe are now unable to pay mortgages to the banks and the linked effect this small sample has to our overall economic troubles.

I started photographing the empty buildings in November of 2009, and titled the project Ghosts of the Economy.

— Panos Lambrou, West Orange, New Jersey, USA

© Panos Lambrou