Johnnie Shand Kydd's photographs show Tracey Emin, Sarah Lucas, and Grayson Perry holidaying on Greek island of Hydra

Artists, curators and writers are invited to stay with the contemporary-art collector Pauline Karpidas one weekend a year

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For the past 18 years, Johnnie Shand Kydd has photographed the art scene as they let their hair down on the Greek island of Hydra each summer.

Invited to stay with the contemporary-art collector Pauline Karpidas one weekend a year, artists, curators and writers can be spotted splashing about in the blue waters and propping up its various bars.

"What's so special about the island is that it had a preservation order slapped on it in the 1960s, so there's been little development since," says Shand Kydd, 55. "It's only an hour from Athens, but it's a gem of an untouched place. There are no cars and you have to travel around by donkey or water taxi. It's amazing."

Many of the faces in the intimate shots – set to go on display for the first time – are familiar, from Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas to Grayson Perry.


"In the early days it tended to be full of young artists who probably couldn't afford a holiday," says the London-based photographer. "Great friendships and working relationships have been forged there. I think what's quite nice about the island is the lack of hierarchy that you would usually get in the art world in New York or London. As soon as you put people in swimming trunks, things become much more democratic.

"In the early days of an artist's career, they're much more carefree with their image," he adds. "It's only when they get older that they start to worry. I don't think they should be concerned, though; they all look fabulous."

An exhibition of the work runs to February 2016 at the University of Manchester's Whitworth Gallery (