Introduction to the 'Buildings' Galleries

By Mark Wilman

I've known Ios since 1974 and was there for more visits in the 70s. After that, staying on the western side, where the port and village are, became less and less frequent, except for the time I arrived from travelling in some far-off land decidedly unwell, or later when my son was not yet two.

It took at least twenty years before I got to know the house in Kambos, behind Yialos beach in the port bay. Built in 1898 for a teacher on the island, the two storey building is still intact, quite well so. Abandoned in the 50s, the rooms remain filled with furniture carefully placed, including coverings on beds. The only other time I've seen this was at the sulphur mine on the east side of Milos island in the western Cyclades, although those are abandoned offices and workers' living quarters.

The late afternoon October sunlight was perfect for the shoot, the house responding splendidly to the challenge both inside and out. The grounds around are enormous with a wall of thick bamboo in front extending lengthwise for a hundred meters and as high as any I've seen other than in Bali. Sometime later, a local woman informed me that the place is filled with snakes, not that I saw one. Hiss, hiss, ouch.

With Roxana's visit came the chance to put some extra personality into my ideas regarding photographing the village. I'd lived in Milan, worked with Stefano Gabbana as a language consultant and thereby got a feel for what models are supposed to look like and do inside various situations and locations. I'd also spent time long ago with good friend and excellent photographer Giancarlo Mecarelli.

This became the opportunity to experience themes that two well considered creative personalities I'd known directly, though separately, lived in their every day lives. I enjoyed this chance to do it my way where I felt comfortable. Roxana was perfect, always in a good mood and filled with ladylike initiatives I couldn't even begin to imagine imagining.