When you’re little, most everything is frightening, especially the darkness and whatever might lurk therein. As an adult, photographer Stavros Stamatiou stepped back into the abyss of his childhood memories, wandering alone in the night throughout the ancient Grecian land beside his home.
A Raven’s Dream, titled in reference to the mad protagonist of Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem, is the artist’s journey back in time and to all the things that tormented him as a boy. Under the cloak of nightfall, he made his way into the empty and silent terrain of Crete and Peraia, a suburb of Thessaloniki where he lives.
With his camera in hand, Stamatiou had a barrier between himself and the fear. All that was once familiar during the day became supernatural at night, and he surrendered to whatever it was that lingered in wait behind the veil of his imagination.
The local stray dogs and grazing horses became his constant companions, emissaries from the past, and specters that vanished as quickly as they arrived. The human beings in the pictures are the photographer himself and his loved ones.
Childhood is the time of ghost stories, riddles, and monsters hiding beneath our beds. When we’re small, we dream of being big, but when at last we do grow up, we find ourselves aching to return. The world, it would seem, loses some of its magic when its darkest corners are illuminated.
Stamatiou is one of the lucky few who has found his way back, and still, he can only stay for a few hours. After that, the sun rises and scares away all that he has conjured.
All images © Stavros Stamatiou