Constantine Manos in American Color project has created a set of fascinating images that engage both the eye and mind in repeated viewings and contemplation. Photographing mostly in exotic locales and at public events within United States, such as Venice Beach and Atlantic City, Bike Week at Daytona Beach and at Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Manos presents a kaleidoscopic view of American culture. As a show case of the sundry layers of American society, the images are also a retrospective, presenting a man’s curiosity for his country’s kaleidoscopic diversity. On streets, beaches, crowded boardwalks, and at small-town carnivals, Manos has captured the varied spectrum pf contemporary life in all its offbeat and charming strangeness. These moments are elusive and varied. Ordinary people drift between technicolor landscapes and dark shadows, tumultuous city streets and stark ocean horizons. Manos’s lens is ti unleash a cacophony of brilliant colors often overlooked in day-to-day observation. Although the pictures were made in the United States, they do not pretend to constitute a general of definitive statment of the country or its people. They are instead specific moments which cannot be categorized and which exist for their own sake. American Color is a collection photographs which charms, humor, mystify, and astonish, while asking questions without giving ready answers.
Constantine Manos was born in 1934 in South Carolina to Greek immigrant parents. His photographic career began when he was 13, in the school camera club, and within a few years he was a professional photographer. At the age of 19 he was hired as the official photographer of the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood. During this time he attended the University of South Carolina, graduating in 1955 with a BA in English Literature.
After military service, he moved to New York, where he worked for Esquire, Life and Look. His book Portrait of a Symphony, on the Boston Symphony Orchestra, was published in 1961. For the next three years, he lived in Greece, producing work that resulted in A Greek Portfolio, first published in 1972 and an award-winner at Arles and at the Leipzig Book Fair.
In 1963 Manos joined Magnum Photos. Manos’s work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, the Art Institute of Chicago, the George Eastman House in Rochester, and the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. His book Bostonians, which celebrates the people of that city, was published in 1974. A new edition of A Greek Portfolio was published in 1999, accompanied by a major exhibition at the Benaki Museum in Athens. In 1995 Manos’s American Color was published, and in 2003 he was awarded the Leica Medal of Excellence for his continuing work on that project.
Official site: www.costamanos.com