Terry Tsiolis has been photographing celebrities for top fashion magazines for more than a decade. He’s shot some of the world’s most recognizable faces, from Rihanna to Isabella Rossellini to Gwyneth Paltrow. But for his first major museum presentation, he’s focusing on people who aren’t famous.
Later this month, the Canadian-born photographer will make his debut in Greece with a self-titled showcase at the Benaki Museum. The exhibit consists of portraits dating back to 2013, all of which are the products of his inclusive casting calls.
“Seven years ago, I posted on Instagram that I rented a studio and whoever wanted their portrait taken should message me. Everyone is welcome,” he explains. “I just wanted everybody to have access, and that’s how the project started. I’ve been able to travel to Greece with it, and Spain, Morocco, all over the United States. I’ve gotten to meet some incredible people and hear some amazing stories.”
The open invitations he posted regularly read, “Hello, I will be in the studio shooting portraits [DATE]. Everyone is welcome. Any age, color, size, gender or religion. Message me if you are interested.”
For Tsiolis, the location of the show feels personal. “I’m first-generation Greek and have a strong attachment to my roots, so it was really nice that the first show I’m doing was kind of where it all started,” he tells BAZAAR.com. “I [also] love the Benaki; it’s one of my favorite museums in Athens. So I just felt really proud and excited at the same time.”
Beyond the personal connections he’s made throughout the process, Tsiolis says that he appreciates being able to sharpen his skill set in an entirely new way. “[This project] has definitely influenced my fashion work,” he says. “It became more and more about the subject, her story—not just a girl dressed in pretty clothes. I connected [to them] a lot more.”
The exhibition will be open to the public from November 18 to December 5 at the Benaki Museum in Athens.
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