"Bitter stone, tested, lofty" wrote the poet. Indeed, going through these pages the reader will see one-by-one the words vindicated!
Stone, of Mani dear characterization: landscape, monuments, towers, buildings and people who are like their rocks, sharp and upright. . .
Bitter, Mani of harsh customs, of revenge, of mourning songs, the endless toil.
Tested, since apart from the winds that rage, north and south winds in all their variations, hordes of enemies passed by to subdue her.
Lofty, because in spite of all these she remained impenetrable and her people unbowed and fierce who fought their enemies and the powers of nature to win their honest and free survival.
Mani, the Greece of Greece, an authentic era evolved from a slow flux of evolution, from the depth of time up to the decades of the 50s, 60s and 70s, was recorded by the camera lens of the Maniot artist Yiannis Vurlitis. Using as base of his operations the beautiful Githio (his homeland), reached without sparing time and toil every little village, every monument, every stone of Mani to see them with the eyes of his soul. At a time when there were no motor roads, electric power and telecommunications. . , by bicycle, on foot, or using some sea means, got away from home, his studio and friends for days, doing his own achievement, writing his own history, maybe without having fully comprehended it.
Now, astounded before this huge volume of his work, and spending endless hours in order to choose jointly the approximately 500 subjects of this Book out of thousands of photographic works that he has accumulated in his archives, we wonder if this echo of toil and anguish of the artist photographer Yiannis Vurlitis will ever reach the dear Reader. Let us hope that even his interest and love for the unique historic Land that bore him, Mani, will reach them.
This unique Work, unique also because most part of its Pictures will not be met by the visitors of the Land today or tomorrow, since they have been definitely discontinued by the spirit of contemporary times and the modern way of living this unique Work of Yiannis Vurlitis has gone through thorough check before it was brought into the limelight. Various adversities for many years now financial and others prevented its publication. Who knows, it had to be joined with our publication efforts as well, with our love for this Land, its past, present and future.
With these thoughts, we thank Yiannis Vurlitis warmly for entrusting us the Work, which we present to you with pride and responsibility. In order it is accessible to greater circles of our Fellowmen we decided to simultaneously present the texts in the English language as well.