Meeting Eve and Rainer Gillessen in Crete

During my first shoot with Eve she was raving about Crete and suggested to go there and meet Rainer Gillessen. She had an intensive cooperation with him, and some of the exceptional pictures are shown in the calender „Akt im Sternenstaub“ (Nudes with Stardust) which received a Gold Award from the publisher.

As evident from these pictures, Rainer Gillessen has a distinctive style which interested me. I agreed that we fly to Crete and work with Rainer Gillessen there.

An abandoned building

On this location, we made some pictures with Rainer Gillessen where his style is evident. He frequently uses cloth, often in combination with weather-beaten palettes, tables or chairs. The posing is not left to the models; instead he gives precise directions and develops his pictures from there. Working in this way is demanding but also instructive. I highly recommend visiting Rainer Gillessen to everybody who wants to improve on his capababilities.

A cave with obstacles and surprises

On this excursion, we worked on our own. In order to get to the cave we needed to cross a goat stable, and we hade some respect for the billy goat. We took all our courage and made it to the cave.

When we were back through the goat stable, we were greeted by a hiker. Apparently he had seen us working there, and he said: “I thought a dead person is hanging there”. He was relieved to see Eve was quite alive. He will remember this unexpected encounter.

Rock formations

Rainer Gillessen knows Crete better than most. An excursion with him always leads to remarable places, and the first were large rocks with characteristic structures. Rainer Gilles had not only his cloth with him but also a bab with that stardust which is used on his pictures in the calender. But we were working initially without this dust, fully concentrating on the rock formations.

For another set we used the dust then, which is highly effective when used along with the cloth.

After a break in a nearby tavern serving delicious chicken we went to a different place. It had different rocks, but just as remarkable. The round bolder on the first set has the perfect size to place a person on it, and it has an interesing contrast to the rough rockface around it.

In the next set we worked with a remarkeable rockface with unusual foldings which can be used like a stage. The tourists passing nearby are not aware of this beautiful play of nature which is just a few steps away.

In the rocks further below I made some pictures with the Kodak infrared film. With sunshine and water it gets evident what this film is capable of.

A marble quarry

On the next day we visited an abandoned marble quarry. The huge rockfaces with blue-grey structures provided a superb background for photography.

The marble surfaces were mostly in the shadow, but in the sun of the late afternoon I made also a picture with Eve and a free standing marble block, just perfect for infrared film.

On our way back we collected some dry shrubs. We thought they might be useful for the next day.

In the abandoned building – on our own

On our last day we were back to the abandoned building which we had already used on the first day. This time we were working on our own. We also used cloth, but it is from tulle and has a different character from the cloth found on many pictures of Rainer Gillessen.

The first set in front of a bare wall shows Eves enthusiasm for dancing ballet. Here you see also the shrubs which we had collected after our visit to the marble quarry.

Outside, the sun was shining – often not so good for photography. However, infrared film works very well with it, as I have already shown further above,

But it is also feasible with a digital camera. It was rather windy, and using white tulle on the veranda we were able to capture a picture where eve looks like an angel.

Back in the building, we used a narrow corridor with dilapidated walls. Some daylight which fell through the window yielded a nice background for a romantic picture.

Some rooms in this large building have round windows. We played a little with those and included the blue sky in our concepts to get some unusual pictures.


Is it worthwhile to travel just for photography? It depends on the value that photography has for you. For me it is a valuable experience to do a voyage of discovery with a model, resulting in so many pictures which I could not make at home. Similar to a travel for vacation it is a lasting memory, and both are valuable for me.

The cooperation with Rainer Gillessen gave this journey an unusual twist.I highly recommend to everybody who is interested in nude photography to work with him. He is during the summer in Crete, and he always runs workshops and coachings there with some models. It is too cold there during winter, but he runs workshops in his studio in Aachen  then. Take a good supply of storage cards with you, you won’t shoot just one picture.

My thanks go to Eve and Rainer for a wunderful cooperation during our shoot in Crete.

For those who are intrested in the technique

Most pictures were taken with my Fuji XT-2 digital camera. I used the lenses XF 2,8-4/18-55, 4/10-24, 1,4/23 and 1,4/35. The system provides excellent quality even with the zoom lenses, and it is easy to carry for the quality that can be achieved.

Infrared pictures were taken with my Contax RX and the lenses Zeiss Distagon 4/18 und Distagon 2,8/28, using a red or orange filter. The film was Kodak High Speed Infrared, which was developed in D-76.


An exceptional photoshoot in Greece