Photographer and regular National Geographic contributor Matthieu Paley journeyed to Crete in June 2014 and brought back dozens of stories, recipes and experiences from this ancient island.
Paley captured people he called “happy” and in love with life and a diet complete with wine and greens who have lived on the Mediterranean diet long before it became a fad.
The French native told of his experiences with local Cretan hospitality, including an 80-something-year-old woman named Vangelio inviting him to accompany her as she gathered herbs.
“Any average Cretan woman would give you about 20-25 names of wild herbs and go in the field and find them,” Paley says. “To be able to know that this is still part of their knowledge, I was really blown away by this.”
The seasoned traveler shared images of the island’s agricultural fields, wine vineyards and olive groves, explaining how locals use sustainable agricultural practices to yield their own products. He even spent time with Cretans at the “kafeneio” and in their own homes.
Paley also shared images from Crete via Instagram. Below are some of our favorites.
Olive groves and vineyards
Thomas, the singer and the gardener
At the church in the village of Meronas
80-something-year-old Vangelio cutting “horta”
Born in France, Matthieu Paley has traveled all over the world for National Geographic and focuses his efforts on regions that are misrepresented. He is especially committed to issues relating to diminishing cultures and the environment.
The recipient of numerous awards, Paley has published several books of his work and his fine art images have been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide. He regularly gets hired for commercial campaigns, photo workshops or speaking engagements.
For more information about Paley, visit his official website.
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