Margot Robbie, Rihanna and Jude Law. These are just some of the famous mugs that New York-based photographer Terry Tsiolis has helped to immortalise during his glittering global career.
Born and raised in Montreal by Greek immigrant parents, Tsiolis’ high-production portraits have graced the pages of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Vanity Fair, in the vein of his childhood heroes - Richard Avedon and Cecil Beaton.
That’s not what this exhibition is about.
In his first major museum presentation, at the Benaki Museum’s Pireos Annex, Tsiolis steps away from “idealised notions of beauty” to transport us to the glorious everyday, with a showcase of intimate portraits of ordinary folk, snapped between 2013 and 2021.
Composed of still photographs and short videos, Terry Tsiolis: Portraits focuses on non-famous civilians of varying age, gender, body type, religion, and race from around the globe. Total inclusivity was the main game for Tsiolis, and to find his subjects, he sent this open invitation across his social media platforms:
“Hello, I will be in the studio shooting portraits. Everyone is welcome.
Any age, color, size, gender or religion. Message me if you are interested.”
The result is an expansive body of work that presents the character of each sitter rather than their dress, suit, shoes, or handbag. Tsiolis manipulates the general conventions of portrait photography (and especially those of unobtainable fashion ideals) by connecting with his subjects on a personal level – and inviting them to present their “true” selves: sexy, absurd, ironic, humorous and shy.
We can’t wait to get along to this one.