The sensitive eye

Greek Orthodox priest and photographer Father Petros Kipouros lends his empathetic eye to capture the sensitivities of nature

Being a priest and an artist at the same time is not something you hear every day. Father Petros Kipouros has managed – in a surprising way – to combine both, and has subsequently become one of Australia’s most well-known Greek Orthodox priests through his photography. Now, Father Petros is exhibiting his work in Canberra; photography that captures nature’s best moments, through a sensitive and watchful eye.
French Impressionist artist Claude Monet painted many landscapes in his time – sometimes of two different moments in a day, or two different seasons of the year. Impressionists were in pursuit of the light and its marvellous effects. In just one minute, everything can change and the result can never be the same. Father Petros’ photos are reminiscent of an Impressionist artist’s style.
“The word photography means ‘writing with light’. It is great to ‘write’, record the light during all the times of the day and the year,” Father Petros tells Neos Kosmos.
Capturing the beauty of a landscape in the four seasons of a year is what he did on a recent trip to Evros, Greece. His photos focus on the beauty of nature; different light of the day, animals, people, and all that with a deepest feeling of “love for people, nature and all the divine creatures”.
“One image is worth 1000 words. In the case of Father Petros, I will say that one photo shows 1000 aspects of himself,” says Michael Kazan, the cultural advisor of the Hellenic Club of Canberra.
The main theme of the exhibition Four Seasons in the Wetlands of Acritic Evros is the fauna and the flora of the Delta of Evros in Greece, where Father Petros was born and raised.
His love of photography began when he was student in theology school in Athens. Two years ago he moved to Australia.
“It has always been a dream for me to come here,” he says.
“Since I was a little child, I have been attracted to this country. I would exchange letters with a Greek Australian to practice the language. I always had this dream but never dared before to take the step to come.”
Finally this dream came true when the archbishop of Canberra suggested him as the new parish priest of St Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. It was the photographic work that showed a sensitive side to the priest that would ultimately cement the decision for him to be a parish priest in Canberra. And the photographic album – that will be exhibited – was the key piece shown to the archbishop, and the decision was final.
In the short time Father Petros has been in Australia, Mr Kazan says he has become beloved in the Greek community.
“Several times, he has been caught taking photos during different events of the Greek community of Canberra,” says Mr Kazan.
He has travelled in 45 different countries, exploring their unique beauty, their people and habits. During all these trips he has taken many photographs of different events around the world.
Yet, the place that inspired him most was Mongolia, where his photographs consisted mainly of portraits.
The Greek and Polish edition of National Geographic has also published photos of his work and he has been awarded for the Greek edition of National Geographic.
When asked about the season that inspires him the most, he answered without any hesitation that it is autumn, “especially here in Canberra, the autumn is magical”.
The exhibition is currently on and is open to the public and free for all to attend. Not only that, all photographs are for sale, and Father Petros will be donating 20 per cent of all sales to the St Nicholas Home for the Aged. The exhibition will run until Sunday 23 June, at the Hellenic Club Community Gallery, Matilda Street, Woden. Entry to the exhibition is free to members of the Hellenic Club and their invited guests.