The first flight

1st August 2020

Like most people I’m still waiting for Darren Brown to snap me out of this Covid joke. I decided to throw caution to the wind and take a trip I had promised myself for my birthday.

“Laura Pannack your mum is at reception please pack your bag and meet her. “
Baffled but attentive I would scoop my Smarties pencil case into my school bag and march down to meet her. Mum would look excited and inform me to ‘Hurry up’, we were off to Greece.

Every few years she would scroll through Tele-text late at night searching for last minute bargain flights to Greece.

Arriving in Athens for one night I would be bitten until my skin became the lower ratio of body to bite. (Mum said I had ‘Monkeys milk.’)

Hopping on a boat to an island the next morning my mother would speak fluently to the nearest friendly face and ask to rent a room for the week.

Perhaps this is why I feel such an affiliation to Greece.

At the age of 19 I fell in love with a Greek boy at college. During our 3-year young love he whisked me off to Spetses to meet his father. We spent weeks in the most stunning Oasis that was soaked in tradition and simplicity.
After 15 years we recently got back in touch and I mentioned I wanted to visit Greece. After some serendipity it turned out we would be there at the same time and I saw this an opportunity to revisit Spetses and catch up.

I stepped off the Flying Dolphin a few days ago and into Mitch’s arms, it was as if time had stood still. After a bear hug we headed to see his dad and enjoy the incredible feast he had prepared.

As I have walked around the island the smells have returned to me and memories have flooded back. It has intrigued me to revisit more of the islands buried in my childhood and adolescence.

Since becoming a photographer apart from my 30th birthday in Barcelona I struggle to define any travel into the term holiday. The indulgent nature of taking pictures abroad means that roaming catches a no mans land between work and play. The work feels too enjoyable to feel like constant labour but the burden to feel productive limits total relaxation.

So as I found myself catching up with Mitch and old friends and feeling totally uninspired to shoot the guilt has amounted. The 37-degree constant heat is not accommodating the desire to explore and I’m concerned that despite trying to brainstorm and research my film may remain in my bag until my flight back.

So how to resolve this little travel head fuck.
Answers on a postcard please

In the mean time I remain grateful for this time and hope that inspiration strikes when it is ready. I know that taking pictures makes me more happy and content than lying on any beach.

The only image I have taken was standing in the middle of the sea hypnotised by the waves. I had an urge to shoot a Polaroid.

I tight-roped over the rocks, camera above my head with the salty sea pushing me until I was central. The water was meditative and I enjoyed the moment until I was ready to shoot. It was a moment of gratitude.

Moments later I attempted a portrait with a man nearby in the water. His glasses hit the light perfectly and he held still despite the current The water hit his chain buried deep in his thick curls of soaked chest hair. It had potential. The film jammed. I attempted to pull it but it stubbornly stuck together. I knew I was fighting a losing battle. The portrait would not happen. We meandered the rocks back to the shore as I released the ruined film with irritation.

Oao x