Manolis Fotiou

Manos cuts a somewhat larger than life personality, so describing him can be a challenge. He has the curiosity (and culinary skills) of Anthony Bourdain, the appetite of Gargantua, the passion of Charles Bukowski and the presence of Zorba.

From the streets of Athens, he came to London at 21, speaking no word of English (he became fluent within a year). A hustler with a can-do attitude, he tried his luck in many professions before finding his niche in the crazy world of bespoke project management for the rich and famous.

Restrained Northern Europeans were shocked and seduced by his brutal (yet charming) Greek directness, which remained unphased by status or background. It built trust. Manos was in demand. But his heart was not in it.

So Manos decided to study photography, where he realized he had a talent for seeing in people what they may not see in themselves. He loves making portraits, literally and metaphorically. He has a talent for making people feel seen, feel alive, feel desired. His photos – and his friendships – are deep, raw and real.

Manos loves words and stories and the stories of words. Ask him about the etymology of a word and you could be lost for hours in weird and romantic explanations that can open up new meanings and new ways of seeing things. He is an incredible storyteller.

He is also what one would call an elder, a mentor. Having come from a very difficult childhood and having made his own mistakes early on as a young father, he now devotes a lot of his time supporting and mentoring others. His ability to share wisdom in a way that is both accessible and relatable to others is reflected in the affectionate way his young mentees address him. They call him Uncle.

Manos’s biggest gifts are connection and generosity. If you are in his presence, you will feel deeply seen and valued. His questions will open you up and you will know he is listening. Then you show him a fridge he will take whatever is in it and rustle up something unexpected and delicious. This is when he is most alive.

Of course he has his demons. Just like with Bourdain, Bukowski and Zorba, the larger the personality the darker the shadow side. But it’s all a work in progress. Awareness, and relentless observation as he would say, is the key.

In Aegina, as one of the founders of Laughing Heart, he wants to share his talents and life experience to help others discover and create their new stories to live a fuller, more meaningful life, a life on intent.

His greatest fear is “not having enough time”. But being present to his fears is where he believes the answers to how to live a good life will be revealed.

Two of his biggest influences are Socrates and Gurdjieff.

Currently he is reading the inspiring words of Charles Eisenstein.

Manos shall receive you as his personal guests and offer you the hospitality that only a Greek knows how.

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