Sunday, April 15, 2018


  Constantine Manos

"The flow of people in a setting, their changing relationships to each other and their environment, and their constantly changing expressions and movements - all combine to create dynamic situations that provide the photographer with limitless choices of when to push the button. By choosing a precise intersection between subject and time, he may transform the ordinary into the extraordinary and the real into the surreal"
- Constantine Manos

Constantine Manos was born in 1934 in Columbia, South Carolina to Greek immigrant parents.  He started his photographic career at the age of 13 at his school’s camera club.  After only a few years he began working as a professional photographer.  He went on to attend the University of South Carolina, from which he graduated in 1955 with a B.A. in English Literature. At the age of nineteen, he was hired as the official photographer of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at its summer festival at Tanglewood.

In 1961 he moved to Greece where he lived until 1963.  Many of the photographs he made during that time were published in a book called “A Greek Portfolio”, first published in 1972. The book won awards at Arles and at the Leipzig Book Fair, and exhibitions of the work took place at the Bibllothéque Nationale in Paris and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Costa Manos joined Magnum Photos in 1963, where he became a full Member in 1965. He is known for his wide-ranging subjects – from desegregation in the American South to life in Greece and his later work throughout America which he shot in color. One thing has remained constant throughout his career; it’s been Costa and his Leica rangefinder.

After he returned from Greece, Manos settled in Boston and completed many assignments for Time-Life books, including their book on Athens.

I had the pleasure of meeting Costa Manos several years ago.  Not only is he a great photographer, he also proved to be a very interesting individual, very easy to talk to.  Whenever I think of Manos, one piece of his work that continues to come to my mind is “Bostonians."  In 1974, Manos was hired by the city to create the photographs for the "Where's Boston?" exhibition, a large production in honor of Boston's 200th anniversary. The photos from that exhibit were published in the book “Bostonians: Photographs from Where's Boston?”  The show consisted of 4 x 6 foot (yes foot) enlargements, all shot on Kodak Tri-X, developed in a modified Agfa Rodinal developer.  It is amazing how well his Leica negatives held up, both in terms of sharpness as well as tonal range, even with those size enlargements.

Manos’s photographs are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Bibliothéque Nationale, Paris; George Eastman House, Rochester, NY; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the Benaki Museum, Athens. In 2003, Manos was awarded the Leica Medal of Excellence for his pictures from American Color.

Leica Master Class Weekend with Constantine Manos | Fri, Jan. 15 - Sun, Jan. 17, 2016

Manos’ first color photographs appeared in his book “American Color” which was  published in 1995. This was followed by “American Color 2” in 2010.  In 1999 a new edition of “A Greek Portfolio” was published, accompanied by an exhibition at the Benaki Museum in Athens.  AT the 50th anniversary of the creation of the pictures for that book, an exhibition, including eighty unpublished pictures, was held at the Benaki.

Manos is currently working on a major retrospective book and exhibition that will include unpublished photographs dating from the start of his career.  He continues to photograph with Leica cameras.

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1 comment:

  1. So much for the Leica haters who claim that Leicas are only for collectors and that they are not used by any professional photographers.