Oia is an artist’s paradise – the stuff of dreams for sculptors, photographers and architects. The town is a sculpture – with walls meeting the edges of streets, boosting them up through narrow staircases or down along others; everything – a surface space, a line – washed white and loudly honest in the sunlight, at all times of the day. It yields new forms, new masses, new rhythm. The plants, even, are of the utmost architectural characteristics – neither cactus nor flower, they are succulent, confident, understated – potted as a single statement, a presence along a line, an articulation on which to give pause in an otherwise fluid sentence.
The homes are carved neither out of nor into the stone face of the cliff, but hang suspended while simultaneously nestled somewhere between the two – such a brilliant and efficient use of its environment, one can’t help but to infer that all architects were meant to include this place in their formal study of the discipline. Without it, they fail to fully experience the pleasure of being embedded in places so balanced, so pure in their details, very few are needed to hurl the individual into a new understanding of place.
It’s a symphony of balance – the use of white space versus color is almost witty; the wash of crisp solids and the tiny spurs of a potted plan set against it; the angles, seeming both measured and accidental – poised yet relaxed – that cast shadows with such proportion it can scarcely be improved upon, should we ever try. Intricate texture showcased against smooth walls; wood grains highlighted in sunlight; every color, brilliant in the sun – an artist’s paradise.
You scarcely have to do anything but hold your camera out in front of you and click – much like the technique employed in firing muskets during the Civil War – and you’ve captured something flawless. With the right eye of a ready mindset, this is precisely how one feels with every moment the continue to look.