Miltos Kourboglou’s Colorific Greece captures the unbridled and singular allure of Greece’s colours
An explosion of fuschia, with a bouganvillea reaching across a white wall. The whitewashed exterior of a house, gleaming blindingly in the sunlight. Vivid green wooden shutters opened just enough to see there’s a buoyant basil plant of the exact same shade standing right behind them. Layers of flaming liquid orange lining the horizon of the sea. These are only some of the glorious colours of Greece, those very colours that captivate our souls, stamp themselves into the fibre of our memories, making us long to see them again like an enchanting yet elusive lover. Photographer Miltos Kourboglou teamed up with author Konstandina Tassopoulou to combine a photographic journey through the spectrum of Greece’s colours with abstract, evocative and colour-inspired texts.
“The reader travels through the pages of “Colorific Greece” from one colour to another, discovering via the photographs and the text many aspects of Greece. The photographs and texts were selected in such a manner that the reader gets the feeling of a virtual journey of riding a colour wheel,” says Kourboglou, a photographer who brings all of Greece’s incredible colours and shades into your lap as you leaf through his remarkable book. Traversing the country simply because he is a self-described “travel nut”, Kourboglou put together the various images he had shot according to their colour and feeling, offering his readers a multi-level journey.
“Travelling all over Greece has been my longtime obsession and joy. In that respect, I had journeyed extensively and already had collected relatively sufficient photographic material for the creation of the book. However, in order to optimise the book and to tune the photos perfectly with the text, I also had to carry out some specific, focused trips. Certainly, this was a very welcome challenge because each time I revisited a place in Greece I discovered new things. Specifically with colour, nothing in Greece has a constant, stable hue. You look at a specific colour and the next moment the changing reflection has taken on another tint.”
Although the images and texts compliment each other harmoniously in Colorific Greece, they are by no means a classic “picture and caption” combo; in fact, Kourboglou and Tassopoulou worked independently to create two dimensions of how the colour is experienced via the images and words. “When I first met with Miltos he explained his plan to make a “colour palette of Greece” and I was really excited by his idea,” Tassopoulou says.
“We both wanted to communicate our belief that, just as one picture is worth a thousand words, also one word is worth a thousand pictures. I wrote the text without referring to specific photographs of the book. The text is not meant to be a caption for the photographs. Instead, it stands on its own and reflects my personal feeling that colour is an essential characteristic of Greece and its lifestyle. “
When I ask Kourboglou what he most wanted to offer his readers, there is no hesitation in his response: “The essence of Greece, its unique light and the unparalleled, almost magical colours. I have aspired to create a photography book, which will help readers rediscover Greece. Greece is not just a summer destination with white sugar-cube houses and clear blue sky. It’s a place full of character, captivating landscapes, history and culture and, above all, a realm of colours.”
While for Tassopolou, the aim was to also offer a fresh perspective to that seen on glossy travel brochures: “I wanted to offer our readers a new and alternative view of Greece, emphasising that colour is an inbuilt ingredient of the country,” she says.
Kourboglou reveals that the whole project was sparked during a moment of pressure, when he had to crystallise in his mind and through his words what Greece really is: “The whole idea came to me several years ago during an international business meeting, I was asked to offer a brief presentation on the elements that characterise Greece and its people.”
“I closed my eyes and tried to recall all the things that I associated with Greece; to my great surprise I realised that, anything connected with Greece in my memory was first a colour and feeling and then an object or event. From that very moment, colour became my sole inspiration and the photographic tool with which I tried to describe all aspects of Greece and the Greek lifestyle.”
Indeed, it has now become ours too.