What does the Cretan village signify in contemporary Greece during the so-called crisis? How do national constructions of the village clash with Sfakian residents' vision of what the village is about? How do locals' visual practices, ranging from children's drawings to digital photography, create political possibilities that disrupt dominant hierarchies? In this paper I explore what the Cretan highland village means for people and what experiences it generates in contemporary Greece. I think through these experiences in relation to nationally normative concepts of the village which conjure specific materialities (e.g., a square with stone houses). By focusing on residents' perspectives and on those of tourists and cultural producers, I examine the ruptures, but also the dialogues and continuities, that exist between locals and external onlookers around what the village is and what it can look like. I further unpack the signification of Crete as an epitome of the demotic in the context of Greece's bailout deal with the EU and IMF and examine the centrality of the village for a range of actors with different political sensibilities. Finally, I look at local digital photographic practices and assess how these constitute political breaks with previous androcentric visions of village life, while conforming to other normativities that operate in the context of global social media iconographies.