We were born and grew up in a home that was simple, warm, light, and above all else, human. Open to everyone ?friends, relatives, the people of Larissa, and also visitors from all over Greece, from every corner of the world. Never a day passed without some guest at our table. We grew up in a house that was literally inside the shop, surrounded by his work and his love for life.

Takis Tloupas was a taciturn, introspective man who rarely showed what he was feeling. But a look, a gesture, a nod from him was everything. We learned things that weren´t taught in school. How to observe everything around us with great sensitivity: the first rays of the sun, the clouds in the west, the colors of the forest in autumn, the mushrooms but above all, people.

He disliked profound analyses: he was simple, though not a naive man, frugal yet generous with his love and sensitivity.

A progressive and a pioneer, he saw the horizon ahead of his time.
    He was born in January 1920, in Selitsani at the mount Kissavos. His grandfather was a coppersmith and his father a carpenter. At first, he worked at carving furniture, since woodcarving brought him a comfortable wage. Until one day he got hold of a magazine of the day called The Spectator, which contained an article with instructions on how to take photographs and assistance for amateurs.

Essentially, though, everything started with a trip by the Mountaineering club to Palaios Pandeleimonas. The president of the club an amateur photographer, showed him his camera, and he asked for more information on how it worked.

When he got back to Larissa he decided to take his own tour of the magical world of the photograph and bought his first camera. It looked like a plain square box and didn´t have several shutter speeds or diaphragms, and it could take photographs at two ranges, from 1 to 3 meters and from 3 meters to infinity.
    The first photograph he took was of his sister, Avyi. With the aid of his brother Philolaos, and by consulting The Spectator, he developed the film with disheartening results. He wasn´t discouraged, however, and continued his efforts. He came into contact with professional photographers, learned how to calculate the developing time for a film, and how to pay particular attention to the lighting. Positive results soon came along, his passion for photography intensified, and he began to find the subjects that suited him.

After the war, he started to work systematically in photography. He made his own space in a corner of the carpenter´s shop and bought new cameras. He photographed the subjects common at that time in order to make a living, but didn´t give up his escapes into the countryside. However a journey to Paris in 1952 led to his revising some of his views on how to earn his living. When he returned to Greece, he decided to cut down on the work that was ´killing´ him and do what he always wanted: wander in the countryside.
    He bought a Vespa and began his journey from Thessaly. He was aided in this by undertaking photographic commissions from the Red Cross, the Mechanical Agriculture Department and the Forestry Inspectorate. In 1960 he replaced the Vespa with his legendary Deux Chevaux and he traveled over the whole of Greece.

His wandering was highly creative. With his great love of black-and-white film, he printed over 30,000 subjects, capturing what gave him pleasure and moved him. The Thessalian plain with the farm-workers ploughing their fields and reaping their crops. The nomadic groups of stock-breeders moving with their herds. Pilio covered with snow, and also full of flowers, the beauty of the river Peneios, the magical Vale of Tempe, Meteora and Mount Athos, the Pindos range, the island of Skopelos, and Crete. Olympus and Kissavos, two beautiful mountains, each of which attempted to monopolize his interest and challenge him to visit it. Lake Karla with the fishermen and their fishing boats. And when they drained it, he was also there and took those unique pictures of the dead lake. But it was Larissa, the city in which he loved so much, that was the subject that he photographed most as time went by.

From time to time he used to say: ´It´s true that I often saw things that others didn´t see, and that I felt would disappear. Many agricultural tasks that hadn?t changed for thousand of years began to alter at a rapid rate. The application of technology was now a reality. I conceived an anxious desire to immortalize things. The continual decay I saw around me was an another reason I photographed the works of man. I felt that things would be destroyed, that a part of our cultural heritage would disappear. I saw architectural details in some churches and monasteries that the experts didn?t see, and I said that they could be preserved, if only as pictures in people´s memory. Perhaps, in the end, it wasn´t the picture of the building I wanted to preserve, but the craftsman´s anxiety about he had created and its course over the passage of time´.

With reference to the definition of photography, he said: ´Photography defines itself. Photography itself defines its art. I search for something inside myself and this search may last for years. Often, I may stand before an object, but not come to the decision to photograph it, waiting for what is in my eyes the ideal moment. I can´t say what photography is, but I can say that I´m fascinated by mists and reflections. I´m excited by the play of light. Photography is certainly light, but it´s much else besides´.

Much has been written and much more will be written about the creative power of his art and his spontaneous talent, which made him a photographer known throughout the entire world. But his radiance, his humanity, his profound sensitivity, and his optimism cannot be described.

Takis Tloupas was certainly a free spirit, a restless, lively spirit. Photographer, woodcarver, historian, or whatever. To us, he will always be our father.

Christina & Vania
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