Souma is a traditional spirit for the Parians as it accompanies every event in their everyday life.
Souma’s cauldrons are hazy warm and somber workspaces with a rudimentary ventilation. The vapors and fumes from the boiling, rich in alcohol, create a foggy landscape where a distinctive and strong fragrance hovers all over the space, a mixture of alcohol and firewood. The work is arduous and exhausting, and the distillation process lasts for a limited period by the end of autumn. During that period souma’s cauldrons seem like beehives as farmers and a small monastic community, with a lot of devotion work around the clock in supplying constantly marcs and firewood while the demigods come and go to receive the spirit of happiness as many call the souma.
Within this passionate environment full of energy, a special emotion enfolds as images from the past emerge. A journey through time and space on a tradition founded by our great grandparents in extracting the remainings from the grapes pressed in winemaking.
I have been photographing souma’s cauldrons over the last years in an effort to contribute to the preservation of this tradition and to its history. A fading legacy as less cauldrons operate every year on the island.
All images © Vassilis Bontosoglou
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