In July 2021 the island of Evia endured record-breaking temperatures and a firestorm that incinerated swathes of forest and many homes. Amidst this environmental destruction there was a tragic blow to the cultural legacy of Greece.
Countless olive trees that have been growing for generations were destroyed and amongst them was an ancient tree, known as The Nymph that was more than 2,500 years old. For millennia this tree had been an enduring symbol of the Evia landscape. According to locals, in antiquity it was described in the writings of the ancient Greek geographer and philosopher Strabo. It was so large that ten people could hold hands around it circumference and it had been consistently fertile, pro- ducing olives up until its ruin.
I visited the Olive Grove of Rovia and witnessed the remnants of this ancient tree shortly after the fire. It felt like an ecological crime scene, with the distorted forms of the burnt olive wood becoming a metaphor for the damage done by climate change to this landscape and the profound sadness that this loss means for the community. I set about photographing what was left of the nymph and other burnt trees across the island, choosing to work in black and white to enhance the abstract sculptural quality of these distorted formations.