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William Abranowicz Portfolio 1: Greece
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William Abranowicz began taking photographs on the Greek islands more than a decade ago, when he was vacationing on Santorini with his girlfriend (now wife), and he has returned every year since, sometimes three or four times a year. “It has this incredibly searing light,” he says. “Everything there is just stripped down to its most essential form, and the light helps accentuate those essential forms.” Indeed, rather than photographing colorful picturesque views, Abranowicz captures the spirit of the place in beautifully composed black-and-while images of simple, elemental subjects: a book, its pages fluttering in the breeze; a cigarette; four glasses on a ledge; the belly of a white horse. “A cigarette is something you take your time with there,” he says, “a glass of water takes on monumental proportion.”

Like all good photographers, Abranowicz makes us look more closely these basic things, or else look at them in a different way. Abranowicz worked for a time as an assistant to George Tice, from whom he learned, he says, “the craft of making a beautifully executed black and white print,” and in these photographs, many of which were reproduced in the 2001 book The Greek File (Rizzoli), he has softened the potentially harsh light, giving the pictures a certain serenity, a sense that life there, still, is a bit slower, more simple. “It’s all about the basic elements of life,” he says, “that’s what Greece is about.”


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