Stathis Orphanos was born in North Carolina of Greek parents and currently resides in Los Angeles and at his home on the Greek island of Samos.
His first photography exhibition (in San Diego County in 1988) resulted in an extensive front-page Los Angeles Times Calendar interview. His second exhibition (in Los Angeles in 1989) was sponsored by the late Shirley Burden, a great great-grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt and the former Chairman of the Department of Photography at New York's Museum of Modern Art. In 1990, from October through December, a combined exhibition of Orphanos photographs and limited-edition books, published with Ralph Sylvester, were shown at UCLA.
Ralph Sylvester and Stathis Orphanos, booksellers and publishers operating as "Sylvester & Orphanos", are partners in life as well as in business. They are best known for their beautiful, meticulously executed books, which are avidly collected by lovers of fine printing.
Tributes to the publishers and their publications include Digby Diehl's declaration in The Los Angeles Herald Examiner that Sylvester & Orphanos are "the elite craftsmen of book publishing," and Charles Champlin's Los Angeles Times tribute to their editions as being "exemplary works of fine printing and an impressive homage to their authors." Los Angeles Magazine has noted that each volume "is a unique example of the bookmaker's art," and California Magazine has reaffirmed that these editions are "exceptionally elegant examples of fine printing, binding, and design by a new California firm."
Stathis Orphanos' photographs have been exhibited in Beverly Hills, La Jolla, Newport Beach, San Diego, Hollywood, and at New York's prestigious Midtown Galleries. UCLA recently established a Stathis Orphanos Photographic Archive at their University Research Library's Special Collections Department.