Yiannis Kyriakidis, the legendary Thessaloniki-born news photographer whose career included covering wars, political conventions as well as local celebrities for over 70 years, died on Monday. He was 92.
During his seven-decade career, Kyriakidis photographed King Pavlos of Greece and his wife Frederica of Hanover, French President Charles de Gaulle, statesman Constantine Karamanlis, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, opera diva Maria Callas and popular actress turned fiery socialist politician Melina Mercouri.
“Kyriakidis, you are the last standing dictator,” the late socialist prime minister Andreas Papandreou famously teased him during a particularly long photo shoot in 1984.
The photojournalist was born in the suburb of Kalamaria in 1924. His parents were ethnic Greeks from the Black Sea region. He refused repeated offers to work in the Greek capital, Athens.
Kathimerini’s Thessaloniki correspondent Stavros Tzimas said Kyriakidis “made history with his lens and legendary step ladder” which he used to get the elevated shot.
Kyriakidis’s funeral will take place on Wednesday at the Church of Aghia Sofia.