MARQ RILEY | Wedding Photographer & Filmmaker in Greece

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Personal: Off Day in Santorini

Santorini is an epic destination with serene blue-and-white domed rooftops and jaw-dropping views. This is however partly a myth being perpetuated by wedding blogs and travel sites. Of course it has amazing vistas from the Caldera, that ring of steep cliffs leading down into what is essentially a crater formed by a massive volcanic explosion in 1646 BC. There are stunning villages perched on its edge in a maze of whitewashed houses, blue chapels and ochre alleys. But keep in mind that those narrow corridors and steps are almost always filled with hundreds of cruise tourists, hoards of Chinese day-trippers and a plethora of wannabe lifestyle bloggers, boho cosmopolitans and brides. And that's just in low-season. Local authorities recently even uncovered a warehouse run by Chinese photographers with an in-house studio and racks of wedding dresses for the sole purpose of providing pre-wedding shoots, all without any form of books or registration. I guess they had to resort to these practices as the wedding photography industry in Santorini is highly protected by local Russian and Greek syndicates, and you are only allowed to get an official wedding certificate if you have your ceremony and reception at one of the many specialised event venues, who all have their preferred vendors and photographers. Need less to say prices for these services are highly inflated.

But you do have to visit Santorini at least once, as we did with the kids recently, to go fishing, playing on one of the black-sanded beaches and marvel at the ancient city of Akrotiri which has been unearthed from volcanic ash. That's for another blog post though. I just wanted to share a few images of an off-day in Santorini, a muggy, overcast grey pre-season day before pools were cleaned, the walls unpainted, when the sun didn't come through and bridal dresses remained on their hangers. It's street photography, unposed, shot from the hip, sometimes on iPhone, sometimes on Samsung NX1, just an honest observation.