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Farewell to the participants of our Santorini workshop

I appreciate the time we had together in Santorini. I hope you have reached home safely.

There is a myth from ancient Greece that you have probably heard before, though probably not quite in this manner.

The tale tells us how Daedalus, one of the greatest inventors of ancient Greece, created waxed wings for himself and his son Icarus, in an effort to break free from prison in Crete. Daedalus warned his son not to fly too close to the sun lest the wax on his wings melt causing him to free-fall into the Aegean. Icarus grew arrogant as they neared Samos Island (not that far from Santorini). Feeling the insatiable drive to soar, he disregarded his father, and alas, the wax on his arms melted causing him to dive uncontrollably and vanish in the sea. The sea around Samos now bears his name, the “Icarian Sea.”

What is this story about? It is a cautionary tale. It is about any man or woman who dares to leave the safety limits.

But here is the truth. This story’s earlier iterations included a detail that was deleted from versions published during and after the industrial revolution: Daedalus also advised his son not to fly too low because the moisture from the water would turn his wings too heavy to fly. As it turns, Icarus’ story is far from the cautionary tale propagated after the industrial revolution.

Flying too low is more dangerous than flying too high, because it feels deceptively safe.

The Prevailing Wisdom is “Don’t fly too high.” Play it safe. Trust the “experts”. Obey the map. “Here is a checklist – all you have to do is follow it”.

Only now, in this new economy of meaning, do we realise that comfort is the real enemy.

An artist is not comfortable. An artist has an insatiable hunger. An artist desires to break new ground.

So, friends, fly higher. Soar by making better art – the kind only you can make. Art is less in the visuals, and more in its reason for existence.

Art is in seeing each photograph as an opportunity to connect with humanity… and to connect humanity

There is another hidden message in Icarus’ story. Experience teaches us that businesses sometimes fail abruptly after a period of apparent success, where this failure is brought about by the very elements that led to their initial success. As any company continues to grow, people also grow confidence in the winning formulas. Eventually, we end up relying only on the elements that we think propelled our success.

You might remember me saying how businesses start showing their signs of decay around their 7-8th year. We decay just about when we lose the will and passion to break new ground, when our connections with others become shackles, when we become overconfident and complacent, when processes become routines, and our values become catchphrases. Decay happens when we forget that our only real purpose of existence as businesses is to inspire and to change the culture.

“What about making money?”, you might ask. Making money is the mere byproduct of caring enough to serve.

I hope in this workshop we gave you a compass, and not a map. A map would not serve you because each of us has a different paths to follow. Only our True North should be the same: To Make Good Art, and To Inspire Change.

It has been a pleasure and an honour breathing the same air with you as you as we created beauty! I wish you all the best!

A few 35mm film photographs from my previous travels in Santorini. The film was accidentally exposed twice (once by myself, and then by my daughter on her own travels. It appears she loaded my already exposed film ending up in some interesting double exposures. I love how both our experiences blended in this overload of analogue “wabi-sabi”!

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The AKG studio was created out of my fascination for blending modern techniques with the art d'excellence from a bygone era, creating a photography of timeless aesthetic and heritage. 

My photography is intimate and infused with a sense of purpose, stemming from a deep desire to advocate for diversity, empathy and empowerment.

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