Local photographer reconnects with his roots
November 15, 2017
Park City photographer Rick Pieros' new collection of work, which will be exhibited and sold during an casual showing on Saturday in the Salt Lake Valley, was culled from a special trip to Greece in 2015 to meet his long, lost extended family.
The exhibit, which will be held from 5-10 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 2589 E. Promenade Dr. in Cottonwood Heights, will feature photographs of Trikorfon, Athens, the Acropolis and scenes from various islands including Santorini and Mykonos.
"I had a chance encounter on Facebook when a cousin of mine named Vasilis (William) Kaoulas messaged me and sent me a picture of my grandfather and his brothers that was taken on the Trans-Continental Railroad in Denver in the 1920s," Pieros told The Park Record. "He asked if we were related."
There was no doubt, because Pieros had the same photograph.
"My grandfather emigrated from Greece with his three brothers," Pieros said. "They were all 15, but they lied and said they were 16."
The four went through Ellis Island and ended up in Green River, Wyoming, where they worked for the railroad.
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"They eventually moved to Ogden and Salt Lake and worked for the Union Pacific," Pieros said. "Then three of the brothers went back to Greece, and my grandfather (who took the name James John) stayed behind."
Pieros' grandfather, whose given name was spelled Dimitri Pierros, passed away fairly young, and the family lost contact with his Greek relatives until the 2015 Facebook post.
Pieros and his family visited Greece a few weeks later.
"We went to a village called Trikorfon, and my cousin introduced us to the family that we had lost," Pieros said.
The village is located a few kilometers above from the old Venetian town of Nafpaktos on the Gulf of Corinth.
"There are maybe only 100 people who live there," Pieros said. "There is no hotel and one restaurant."
During the visit, villagers would ask Pieros which family he was from.
"My cousin told me that they were asking which brother I was related to," he said. "When I said it was Dimitri, they told me, 'Dimitri disappeared,' and wanted to know where we've been all of these years."
Pieros found that the four brothers basically built the village.
"I got to go to the family cemetery and it's all Pierros," he said.
Friday's exhibit will also include photographs of Park City and other areas Pieros has visited.
In addition, the photographer will also sign and sell his "Park City Past and Present" book, and fellow photographer Mark Maziarz will join Pieros in signing and selling their collaborative "Park City: A Portrait" coffee table book and new 2018 calendar.
Pieros' wife, Heidi Shadix-Pieros, will also sell and sign her "Gilbert the Moose" children's books.
"We've been doing this show for about a decade, and the exhibit is a way to thank people for the support they've given to us over the years," Pieros said.
Pieros said the exhibit has a casual gallery stroll feel.
"It's free and open to the public," he said. "Refreshments will be served and it's a family-friendly event."
Pieros looks forward to sharing the new collection.
"I was never able to show the photos to people beyond my family and friends," he said. "So I thought I would put together images from this trip where I reconnected with my ancestors."
Park City photographer Rick Pieros will present an exhibit from 5-10 p.m., on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 2589 E. Promenade Drive in Cottonwood Heights. The event is free and open to the public. For information, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1881386592189973.
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