Robert McCabe: “The Greeks and Their Seas”

A selection of photographs from the forthcoming book by Robert McCabe captures the poetry of everyday life and the timeless bond between the Greeks with their seas.

Pylos, 1955. A father and son operated this caique in the Bay of Navarino.

Petros Nomikos at Cape Sounion, 1954.

Mykonos, 1955. Morning at the old port. Fishermen unload their nets so they can dry and mend them.

Aboard the MV Hellenic Star, a Liberty ship belonging to Callimanopoulos Lines, as sailors prepare the booms for arrival and unloading. I signed on as a crew member and was assigned to chipping off rust, which I did for most of the 26 days we were at sea. Years later, Kostas Xynos, owner of the wonderful taverna in Plaka, and I became friends when we discovered we had both worked aboard the Hellenic Star.

Santorini, at the port of Fira, early 1960s. The Aigaion was built in the UK in 1911, the same year as the RMS Titanic. She operated as a cruise ship before becoming a passenger liner in the Aegean.

Boy on the bow in 1954, on a trip to Gyali from Kos.

Deck class on the Despina, 1955. A few weeks ago, I received a message on Instagram (@mccabephotos) from the daughter of the person with the accordion!

The captain and first mate of the Volos-based cargo caique Elevtheria, in the Sporades in 1963. They’d had a career selling vegetables and fruit on the islands but got out of the business after experiencing a trip where all their inventory went unsold and rotted because local markets were already oversupplied.

Poros, 1957. Unloading melons off a caique newly arrived from the Peloponnese.

George McCabe at the helm.

Mykonos, 1957. A fisherman dries his nets at Aghios Charalambos Church.

Koukounaries Beach, 1957.

An introduction to the Aegean Sea, 1957.

A small ship repair depot somewhere in the Aegean, perhaps Poros, in the late ‘50s or early ‘60s.

Anna Marie Gertsos gazes out at Onassis’ yacht Christina, a former Canadian naval vessel. The tycoon’s seaplane is visible on the yacht’s aft deck.

Robert A. McCabe

The prolific American photographer, Robert McCabe, who was given honorary Greek citizenship in early 2020, first came to the shores of Greece as a young visitor in 1954. In the ensuing years, McCabe captured the changing world of the Greek islands and other parts of the country with a keen and kind eye, presenting his work in a number of stirringly beautiful photography books. Topics that these volumes have addressed range from ancient archaeological sites to the history of wooden sailing ships in the Aegean, and from the waning of a remote island monastery to commonalities between the nations and peoples of China and Greece. Over the past two decades, McCabe has exhibited his work at a dozen solo shows in Greece, France, Belgium, and the US.