A PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY INTO THE CULTURE, HISTORY, AND CUISINE OF GREECE
A photography workshop in Greece centered around traditional food, ancient history, and laid-back islands. Need we say more? June 2022, join Summit Workshops on an all new travel photography themed trip to explore some of the most amazing yet lesser known corners of this wonderful country.
Greece is a land where ancient temples rise above colorful cities, turquoise waters lap against white-washed island villages, and summer nights stand still as a warm Mediterranean breeze carries the sound of bouzouki music through the air. While Greece offers a seemingly unlimited number of superlative places to visit, a great travel photography journey entails looking beyond the shell of a culture and discovering what makes a country and its people truly special. In Greece, there is perhaps no better way to do this than by exploring ancient history and traditional cuisine. While this workshop will not necessarily be about ‘food photography’ we will explore some of Greece's most incredible places by way of its farmers, fishermen, distillers, and producers….capturing portraits of these kind and passionate people as we photograph and eat our way through the countryside and along the sea.
Beginning in the historic center of Athens, our journey will begin by exploring the city’s most famous and picturesque archaeological wonders including the Acropolis, Temple of Zeus, and Panathenaic Stadium. We will have an incredibly unique opportunity to visit a private museum to learn about archaeological photography and photograph a variety of incredible ancient Greek artifacts. In addition to discovering Athens’ past, we will venture into the modern city to photograph its many street markets, traditional shops, flower-filled gardens, and hilltop vistas. From the fast pace of Athens, we will travel by ferry to the quiet islands of Aegina, Poros, and Hydra where our days will be spent photographing pistachio farms, walking between villages along seaside paths, visiting orthodox monasteries, and chatting with fishermen as they unload their morning catch. After sunset photo walks through white-washed villages and cyprus lined country roads, we will review our days images at seaside tavernas over glasses of local wine and fresh brewed Greek coffee. From the islands we will travel to the Peloponnese, the ancient territory of the Spartans and home to some of Greece’s most pristine traditional culture. After visiting the ancient Bronze Age capital of Mycenae and the stunning Greek theatre at Epidaurus, we will spend a few days in the beautiful seaside town of Nafplio, known for its diverse influence of cultures and historic ouzo distilleries (where we will most certainly visit). From the coast, we will venture south to visit the olive markets of Kalamata, a town known worldwide for producing the best olive oil on earth. Our last destination on this trip will be the Mani Peninsula, one of the least visited corners of the country where our base will be in a medieval walled city against the sea and below stunning snowcapped mountains. Taking a step back in time we will visit and photograph village olive oil presses and countryside apiaries before returning to Athens and our final farewell.
What To Know
Topics We Will Cover
Culture and History Storytelling
2022 WORKSHOP INSTRUCTORS
Matt is a photographer, writer, and archaeologist based between Boston and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Focusing on stories related to archaeology, history, culture, and conservation, Matt’s images and writing can be found in Smithsonian Magazine, The New York Times, National Geographic, GEO, BBC, Archaeology Magazine, Outdoor Photographer Magazine, and more. Matt is a National Fellow at The Explorer’s Club, currently directs multiple archaeological projects in the Rocky Mountains, is involved in several excavations in Greece and Italy, and worked as the Photographer In Residence for the British School in Athens, Greece where he specialized in photographing artifacts. Along with his wife Rebecca, Matt has both lived and worked in Greece and is passionate about sharing it with fellow photographers and travelers.
Workshop Information & Itinerary
Costs Included In Tuition
Welcome to Athens! Arrive anytime and transfer on your own to our hotel located in the heart of the city near many of its renowned cultural and archaeological sites. After a welcome meeting in the hotel lobby in the evening we will venture out to a traditional taverna for a tasty introduction to Greek food and wine.
Today will be spent getting a crash course in Greek history by exploring and photographing some of the city’s most famous sites. Walking through Athens’ market district as the morning sun sprinkles the ancient city in golden light, we will make our way to the famous Acropolis, home to the Parthenon and other spectacular structures. After spending a few hours photographing the spectacular site and its incredible views over the city, we will head to the nearby Acropolis museum which is home to a stunning collection of art and artifacts from throughout Greece’s deep history. After lunch, we will spend the afternoon exploring and photographing Athens’ central food market, a buzzing hotspot for local culture and a great place to practice street photography amongst the traditional butchers, farmers, and fishermen selling their wares. After dinner at a restaurant nestled beneath the Acropolis, we will walk to the summit of a nearby hill to photograph and admire the city at night.
Get ready for a truly unique and special day. We will walk from our hotel to the ritzy Kolonaki neighborhood of Athens where we will spend the morning learning about archaeological photography at the British School where our leader Matt Stirn used to work as the Photographer in Residence. Renowned amongst the academic community, the British School has been the base for some of the most important archaeological expeditions in Greece. After a brief introduction and tour by the school’s Assistant Director, our class will take place in their private museum where we will have the rare opportunity to photograph a variety of ancient Greek artifacts. The afternoon will be your own to explore and photograph other sites in Athens like the central gardens, Temple of the Unknown Soldier, or one of the city’s many bustling street markets.
Today we head to the Greek islands! After an early breakfast at the hotel, we will transfer to the port of Piraeus and catch a ferry to the Saronic Island of Aegina. The journey will take us approximately 40 minutes which can be spent sipping a coffee or snapping pictures from the ship’s open deck as turquoise waters and distant mountains saunter by. Stepping off the ferry, Aegina will welome us with its charming old town, traditional fishing harbor, and quaint tavernas along the shore. Aegina’s true fame however lies in its interior where the highest quality pistachios in the world are grown in traditional farms nestled amongst ancient olive groves and orthodox monasteries. After checking into our seaside hotel, we will walk or bike to a nearby pistachio farm to learn about the trade and time photographing traditional farmers at work. Depending on the groups’ interest, the afternoon can be spent photographing a countryside Greek monastery or exploring Aegina’s old town. An evening on the island is not complete without a nightcap of wine or ouzo along the shore as stars shine bright overhead and the Mediterranean laps only feet away.
During the early morning we will walk along the coast to Aegina’s port where traditional fishermen unload and sell an incredible variety of seafood every day. We will then board our next ferry which will guide us to Poros, another island renowned for its whitewashed houses, picturesque olive groves, and roast lamb. After checking into our hotel located outside of town on a private beach, we will momentarily put town our cameras and join a local chef to prepare our own dinner using locally grown traditional ingredients.
After breakfast we will catch a high-speed ferry for a daytrip to Hydra, an island where vehicles are prohibited and donkeys are used as the primary mode of transportation. Made famous by longtime resident Leonard Cohen, Hydra is exceptionally charming with white washed houses, flower and tree covered squares, and outstanding seafood found in traditional outdoor fish-houses lining the marina. Our day on Hydra will be spent exploring the historic port town and walking along one of the island’s many seaside paths that connect hidden coves and quiet fishing villages. If you can manage to distract yourself from the stunning landscape and put your camera down for a few minutes, the rocky coastline of Hydra offers a number of top notch swimming spots. After a marvelous day exploring this unique island, we will return to Poros for dinner and a sunset photo stroll. Today will offer a great chance to perfect your long-exposure photography along the rugged coasts of Hydra and Poros.
In the morning we will catch a final ferry to Greece’s Peloponnese where we will make our way to Nafplio, a coastal city known for its stunning Venetian architecture and massive castle that looms above the city. During our drive we will stop at Epidaurus, home to one of the finest ancient Greek theatres in the world, and Mycenae which was once ruled by the famed King Agamemnon during the Trojan War. In the springtime, both sites are blanketed with wildflowers and offer beautiful settings for landscape pictures amongst ancient ruins. The afternoon and evening will be spent exploring and photographing the picturesque squares of Nafplio and capturing the sunset as it sets over the surrounding sea.
Nafplio is one of our favorite towns in Greece and warrants an entire day to intimately explore. Located at the crossroads of several cultural spheres, the town reflects a legacy of Frankish, Venetian, Turkish, and Greek influence in its culture and architecture. In the morning we will visit a family owned ouzo distillery to learn about this marvelous spirit and photograph how it is traditionally made. Traditionally distilled in copper pots, ouzo acquires its distinct flavor from star anise, fennel, mastic, cardamom, coriander, cloves, and cinnamon. In the afternoon we will have the opportunity to take a boat to the nearby fortress of Bourtzi and spend time photographing and exploring on our own. In the evening we will reconvene for dinner at one of Nafplio’s excellent fish tavernas located feet from the water.
In the morning we drive from Nafplio to the Mani Peninsula, one of Greece’s most remote and untouched regions along the Peloponnese’s southernmost coast. Home to medieval walled towns, snowcapped peaks, and traditional communities that seem frozen in time, Mani is a rare gem that few visitors have an opportunity to experience. Our drive from Nafplio will take us south to the town of Kalamata which is home to some of the highest quality olives and olive oil in the world. After spending time exploring Kalamata’s street markets and learning about its thriving olive economy, we will travel far off the beaten track to the village of Kardamyli, one of Mani’s most beautiful seaside towns. The afternoon will be spend exploring the town and walking through the countryside where farmers and shepherds can be seen busy at work. Tonight will offer memorable opportunities for landscape shots as the sun sets over the Messenian Gulf.
Today will be spent exploring the Mani Peninsula and meeting some of the passionate food producers who live here. We will spend time photographing village farmers producing olive oil using a traditional stone mill, and visiting an apiary where some of the rarest honey in the Mediterranean is produced. Both of these stops will offer great opportunities to take portraits while practicing cultural and travel photography in a truly traditional setting. After a sunset photography stroll, we will enjoy a countryside feast before settling in at a seaside taverna to enjoy a final coffee or glass of retsina, a locally produced pine-resin wine.
Today’s return to Athens will take approximately five hours. Driving through stunning scenery and the homeland for the ancient Spartans we will pass once again through Kalamata and over the Corinth Canal, an impressive shipping lane cut hundreds of feet into the ground. Passing from the Peloponnese back to Attica we will wind along the Mediterranean before arriving to the hustle and bustle of Athens. The afternoon can be spent visiting and photographing sites we might have missed at the beginning of the trip, shopping for souveniers, or savoring a final Greek coffee in the central gardens. We will meet for a final group dinner as our amazing time in Greece comes to an end.
Depart to the Athens airport at any time.