• Loukia Hadjiyianni

Postcards from Samothrace - A rocky pocket of safety

Samothrace is everything people promised it to be. Bright, warm, green, blue dragonflies and forest fairies. Blackberries and fish. We are laying on the warm stones below a waterfall. Charis said that it feels like ancient Greece or the biblical vision of paradise. Young people and older people are reading books, sleeping or climbing upwards to new waterfalls. Most are comfortably naked. The loudest sound is the sound of water, fighting and dancing its way forward.

There aren't a great many places where I feel safe as a woman, and I can sense that the women I photograph probably feel like that too. When my family asserts that nude photography must be a kind of rebellion, I want to explain how I'm tired of rebelling. Against them, myself, the world. How instead, I want to create small pockets of safety for people to be themselves without feeling shamed or threatened. Small pockets where they can slowly remember that their skin has the ability to hold memories of generations past and that their face radiates the energy of an uncharted moon. It comes as a relief then, to realize that this island is a kind of rocky safe space like that, for us and all those who chose to visit it.

I count the ridges on a tree trunk and think about how beautiful it would be to stop fighting for a place in the world. To just live in it instead, without any great effort or pretense. I understand by now, that belonging is a symptom of letting go. Letting go of old wounds, refusing to be defined by them. Telling a different story for a change. To the people one meets on an island or a hostel, to a journal, a lover, oneself. A story about light, water, seagull-flooded-skies and eyes made of moonstone.

Maybe then, all of this could live inside our bones and we wouldn't have to search for it every summer on faraway islands, miles away from home.





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