The area that surrounds Athens is composed by certain antitheses: the vast urban surface meets with the countryside.

Surrounded by the silence of centenarian olive groves, meadows, mountains and seas, the city today struggles to carry the weight of its own existence, facing a tough and tense present. This is a prolonged silence that seems to surround the loud and desperate cry that comes out of the capital city.

With more than 4 million people living today in Athens’ metropolitan area, the city offers a controversial image: a challenging reality in which every day, an increasing number of people have to face further difficulties.

This is a depression that gradually influences every aspect of life, economically and psychologically, in quite dramatic ways. The consequences of this crisis continue to extend; the agony for tomorrow is constantly growing. Furthermore, images of the place are beamed around the world; images of graphic violence, extensive riots and distressing poverty, enhancing the tragic portrait of the city. The center of Athens has been the main scene and the drama in the streets provided a visual narrative for the “Greek Crisis” chronicles.

The images of this project were made around the outskirts of Athens, less than 30 miles away from the heart of the capital. It is the area that surrounds the depressed city and all the millions of its citizens’ individual stories. Outside the invisible borders of the extended metropolitan area, in the land that lies behind the edge of the city, time seems to move parallel but in a different density. There is an inevitable contrast between the two states, a parable manifested by the discreet mystery that trees seem to hide among their branches and seas among their waves.

This is an alternate state in parallel time. There, silence seems to carry inside it a waiting, where a patient whispering can be heard, speaking a long forgotten language.

There is no beauty that is timeless but the timelessness of nature can reflect a new direction, maybe even a hope. It’s not a blissful silence but it’s an inspiring one.

—Petros Koublis