Lefteris Pitarakis was born in Athens, Greece where he studied photography, video and digital imaging at a photography college in the Greek capital.
He worked for 5 years as a freelancer for Greek and foreign media until April 1998 when he began his career in the Athens bureau of The Associated Press. He was assigned to AP coverage in the greater Balkan region, with multiple assignments to Cyprus, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and the Yugoslav province of Kosovo, during and after the NATO 1999 war.
In April 2000 he was posted in the Middle East for the Associated Press covering mainly the Palestinian uprising against Israel in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Israel. He traveled on assignments in the greater Middle East region to Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, Syria and Jordan and covered the aftermath of the US-led wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq.
He had been awarded for his work including being a finalist for the Amnesty International Media Awards 2008, the Overseas Press Club John Faber group award for 2002 in New York, the Associated Press Managing Editors award for outstanding News Photography for 2002 and 2007, the second prize in 1999 for Spot News category in the Pictures Of The Year contest, National Winner (Greece) for the Fuji Euro Press Photo Awards 2001 and many others. Samples of his work have been published in major publications, in magazines and books, around the world and he has taken part in multiple group exhibitions in Greece, France, UK, Spain and the United States.
From April 2005 he is based in London, UK where he is responsible for the coverage of Great Britain, Europe, Middle East and Africa regions. He covered the summer 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon, where he stayed for 2 months. That body of work from the conflict along with the rest of the AP photo team that covered it, made them finalists for the 2006 Pulitzer Prize.
As a strong advocate of ethics in photojournalistic work, he is involved in a major long-term research project on photojournalism and manipulation. He presents his work and lectures about ethics and against any form of digital or other manipulation in universities, foundations, fora and photo festivals.
He holds a BA (Hons) in Photography from Middlesex University and a Master’s degree (Distinction) in Photojournalism from the University of Westminster in London, UK.