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ANASTASIOS KOUTSOUKOS / dit: ELITE (Ottoman Empire, Constantinople b. 1915 / act: Athens)

Elit Anastasios Koutsoukos was born on 15 May 1915 in Taksim of Constantinople, Ottoman Empire. He was mesmerized by photography already by the age of eight, at the photographic studio of Sébah & Joaillier at Galata Serai, adjacent to the Catholic Church. He studied at the École Saint Jean Baptiste and terminated his studies in 1930, when he came to Athens to join his two elder brothers. In 1935 his brother Alecos mediated on his behalf to become assistant of Ioannis Xanthakis at his studio in Athens on 16 Evangelistrias Street. In 1936 he joined the army, and saw action of the Second World War in 1940 Albania. In the period 1941 till 1942 he took over Geo Boucas' studio in Athens on 27 Philhellinon Street, after its founder's death (1941). Subsequently he run Ioannis Xanthakis' studio on 7 Stadiou Street until 1945, when he got married. In the period from 1945 to 1949 he worked as a plumber clearly to make a living. When he met Takis Zivre at his studio in Kallithea in 1949, the latter offered him a partnership. Consequently in September of that year they inaugurated their studio under the name 'Elite', which remains today on 2 Thyras Street in Kypseli, Athens. It turned out that their first client was a rich groom who - for the best effect of his photograph - ordered so many flowers that ensured memorable vernisage for the new studio. The partnership between Zevre and Koutsoukos terminated when in 1955 the latter made jis way to America. Koutsoukos became known exclusively as 'Elite', and through his studio literally paraded all the famous stars of the Greek theater - i.e. Nikos Hatziskos; Dimitris Horn; Elli Lambeti; Tzeni Karezi; Manos Katrakis; Melina Merkouri; Kostas Mousouris; Katina Paxinou and Aliki Vougiouklaki. Elite also took photographs from legendary performances at the National Theater and the Karolos Koun Theater. He was also official photographer of the National Theater from 1957 until the moment that Alexis Minotis demanded the unacceptable term for Elite's signature not to appear on his prints. Always in Latin characters, the 'Elite' signature accompanies all of his photographs with no exception, always signed calligraphically by hand in white or black ink depending on the case. After more than half a century, Elite continues to run his studio in Kypseli.

[Megakles 12/2007]

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
LifO #29 06/07/2006

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