Family, friends and colleagues are mourning the early death of 'Deno' Tofalos, a talented Lancashire photographer.
NUJ colleague Angela Kelly writes:
A talented photographer who worked for the Bolton News and other regional newspapers has died aged 42.
Constantine Tofalos – known to all as Deno - had been ill for some time and passed away in hospital over the weekend after his condition worsened.
The eldest of five children, he was a pupil at St Stephen & All Martyrs Primary School in Bolton and St James’s School in Farnworth. Deno showed exceptional artistic abilities from an early age but didn’t try using a camera until he was in his teens.
“When he did, it was immediately apparent that he had a natural talent for photography – he had ‘the eye’,” explained his father, Mr Chris Tofalos, also a media photographer.
Deno was a member of Bolton Lads and Girls Club and won two major club photography competitions, one resulting in an all-expenses paid trip to London for a day in the studio with renowned photographer Patrick Lichfield.
He qualified as a graphic designer and worked in various design studios in Bolton and Manchester but didn’t think about photography as a career until 2000 when he started freelancing, initially with the Bolton News. He had found his niche and pictures and bylines followed in a variety of regional media.
Deno was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2002, causing some unsteadiness but he carried on working. In 2008, despite his disabilities, he succeeded in gaining a degree in photography at the University of Bolton. His determination to cope with his illness was so great he continued freelancing – even learning Russian in his spare time.
Sadly, the progression of MS forced him to give up work altogether, and he spent the last two years of his life in a Cheshire care home. Added Mr Tofalos: “Friends and family visited Deno regularly and we will always remember the smile he gave us when we walked in the room. He was a remarkable person and he really will be missed.”