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Everything: The Black & White


In his early years, Christopher Makos traveled widely in Europe, spending time with Man Ray during the great artist’s last birthday celebrations in Fregene, Italy. The master took a special interest in the brash young American and spent the day speaking of a life in photography. Photographs from their day together appear in Everything: The Black and White Monograph (Glitterati Incorporated), a retrospective of three decades in Makos’ illustrious career.

Makos reveals, “Pictures prove that I have a life. It’s an amazing life whether it is flying back and forth to Paris on the Concorde, or flying with Malcolm Forbes to Istanbul, riding around on motorcycles, or going to Russia on Calvin Klein’s plane. I don’t look back—sure, I love memories. Nostalgia has a place and sometimes a certain song or a certain picture will evoke something that will take you into that world. But for me, the most important moment is the moment that I’m experiencing right now, in front of the camera with you.”

The oldest photograph in Everything was taken in 1973. It is a single foot set bare upon the beach in Ditch Plains, Montauk, New York. The journey of a thousand miles had begun. The result is Everything, a wide-ranging survey of his black and white work (many images published here for the first time) that can be seen as a photo-biography, if you will. Here are portraits, landscapes, nudes, snapshots, studio shots, cars, dogs, horses, from Fire Island to Ascot, Mallorca to Moscow, Morocco to Puerta Vallarta, Giza to Palm Springs. Everything stands as a record of the restless, globetrotting life Makos has led, always with camera in hand.

Makos reveals, “I love photography because it’s like being a psychotherapist. When I photograph people it’s so interesting to see their responses and their reactions. You often have to calm them down or bring them to a place that is comfortable for them and for you to capture them. People often say that when they come to my studio I put them at ease, at least enough to let their authentic inner personality shine. It is this interaction between me and my subject that I enjoy so much. I like doing portraits of people because it is intimate, it is singular, just between me and the subject, not like photographing crowd shots and all that.

“The inspiration for Everything is my life. It’s not just about my pictures but about everything I am doing right now. People ask what is going on. I tell them I am doing everything.

“I live in the moment. I hadn’t looked at these photographs in awhile. They looked like brand new pictures. The photographs look contemporary. They aren’t dated. Editing is an intuitive process. If you have a big body of work, you have to have an historian and an archivist, who knows where the works will be at any given moment. Peter Wise, my archivist, went through twenty, thirty years of black and white contact sheets. We had to cull it down. How do you edit 40 years? It becomes daunting.”

Weighing in at 352 pages, with 248 photographs, Everything is printed in quadrotone for the richest, most effective reproduction of Makos’ black and white work. Included here are iconic Makos images of Georgia O’Keefe, Halston, Liza Minelli, John Lennon, Tennessee Williams, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lou Reed, Andy Warhol, Elizabeth Taylor, Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, Pedro Almodóvar, Marilyn Chambers, Mick Jagger, as well as many never-before-published images of Vanna White, Erté, Quentin Crisp, Queen Elizabeth II, Michael Jackson, just to name a few. Everything has detailed backmatter, including comments by former Makos assistants, and a complete Makos bibliography, list of exhibitions and collections. Beyond its essential value to photography enthusiasts and scholars, Everything is a beautiful monograph that will appeal to anyone who loves photography and appreciates well-crafted illustrated books. 

Makos remembers, “Marta Hallet was very generous. She told me to do whatever is necessary for the book. She has always been like that. We first connected years ago when she was doing specialty publishing for Saks Fifth Avenue. We met through Ken Smart and before you know it, we started to talk about what we’d do together, and that’s how it began.”

In their time together Makos and Hallett have published eight books together, including the recent release of White Trash Uncut, the republication of Makos’ 1977 cult classic in a new, luxurious format. Makos observes, “Marta gives you an amazing amount of freedom in a world where it’s tough to sell books and printed media. She started Glitterati so she could make her own decisions based on what she wants. She lived by that creed. She knows what she wants and she’s always been like that. Marta is an amazing lady that believes in us authors. I am excited and proud to be with her.

“The word. Everything. I haven’t done everything but I am getting close. All my books are different. Marta is so intro collaborating. She is her own modern version of the Factory. She lets us breathe. She’s like a mother. She appreciates us as artists. She seizes on an opportunity and sees potential in everything and everyone. Very Warholian.”  

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