Petra Huber’s photographs of olive trees and others that grow on the Greek island Corfu. “Trees give me a feeling of peace and protection…”
For me trees a like creatures. They are alive and give me the feeling of peace and protection. When I walk through an olive grove, I never feel alone. It feels like being at home. When I want to meditate I either sit among trees, or in a place where I have a direct view to the sea.
The island Corfu, where I have been living for the last 14 years, is totally covered by olive trees, so in a way we mostly have olive groves and only very few woods. Olive trees were introduced on Corfu by the Venetians who ruled the island for four centures. Around the middle of the 16th century, a subsidy was offered to anyone who replaced their vineyards with olive trees. Some of the trees are still the original ones and are still bearing fruit! The amount of trees are now estimated to several million. They are quite tall and the olives are gathered not by harvesting but by collecting them when they fall into the nets after a big storm. Usually the trees bear olives every second year and most of the oil is exported in bulk to Italy where it’s refined and sold as Italian, but it is also used for bartering. You will often receive a plastic bottle of virgin olive oil from your neighbour if you have done him a favour.
Once in a while the trees are cut back and some cut as severely as to leave only a short stump. The wood is either kept to warm up our houses in winter, big pieces – which are rare – worked into furniture, smaller ones shaped with a lathe into cutting boards, bowls and other household objects. Large amounts of wood are also loaded onto trucks and transported to the Greek mainland or to Italy where it is sold to pizzerias with traditional wood ovens.
Many of the visitors ask me why the trees have holes and formations as if branches had twisted themselves along the trunk. I did not know what to say until I found the information on a German site. One reason, say the experts, is that the trees do not grow evenly due to a lack of certain nutrients in the soil, and the second reason is that a fungus (polyporus fulvus oleae) causes rot in the wood creating holes. The final result is quite intriguing as you can see from my photos.
Petra was born and grew up in Munich, Germany, where she worked as a clerk for the Deutsche Post. She came to Corfu for the first time 21 years ago and since 14 years has been living here with her husband, Klaus, and their two children. Petra and Klaus are the managers of Ouranos Club and their guests are lucky to be served the organic produce grown on the farm in Avliotes where they live. Photography is Petra’s passion, as well as creativity and meditation. korfu-mal-anders.de – ouranosclub.de
More photos by this photographer in Surrounded by Water – Petra Huber’s love for water shows in these stunning photographs she took in Corfu, Greece