Moments of charm reveal themselves in vivid color through Constantine Manos's photographs of the United States
"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 Columbia, South Carolina, U.S.A., of Greek immigrant parents. His photographic career began in the school camera club at the age of thirteen, and within several years, he was a working professional. He graduated from the University of South Carolina 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.
Upon completion of his military service, he moved to New York, where he worked for Esquire, LIFE, and Look. His book, Portrait of a Symphony, a documentary of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, was published in 1961. From 1961 to 1963 he lived in Greece, where he made the photographs for his book 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. In 1963, Manos joined Magnum Photos.
Returning from Greece, Manos settled in Boston and completed many assignments for Time-Life books, including their book on Athens. In 1974, he was the chief photographer for Where’s Boston?, a multimedia production that documented the city and provided the photographs for his book Bostonians.
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.
Images from Manos’ ongoing work in color first appeared in his book American Color, published in 1995. The work continued in American Color 2, published in 2010. A new edition of A Greek Portfolio was published in 1999, accompanied by an exhibition at the Benaki Museum in Athens. In 2013, an exhibition commemorating the 50th anniversary of the making of the photographs for the book, including eighty unpublished pictures, was held at the Benaki.
As of 2014, he is currently working on a major retrospective book and exhibition that will include unpublished photographs dating from the start of his career.