The Magic of the Image
Born in Lowell, Massachusetts, Christopher Makos grew up in California before moving to New York after high school. He later moved to Paris where he studied architecture and worked for a time as an apprentice to Man Ray. In 1969, he decided to return to New York to take up photography in a serious way, but this activity was very expensive at the time. Christopher Makos had to sell his images to be able to continue making them. Rolling Stone magazine was his first client.
He also organized his first exhibition, “Step On It”, at 492 Broome Street. He presented photographs spread out on the gallery floor, covered with sheets of Plexiglas – allowing visitors to literally walk on his photographs. Bob Colacello, at the time editor of Interview magazine, which was owned by Warhol, attended the exhibition and subsequently arranged for Christopher to meet Andy at Warhol’s Factory. This meeting allowed the photographer to join the Interview Magazine team. The latter, attracted by the fact that photography is faster than painting, explored this new medium thanks to Christopher Makos. On his side, he further developed his style, a mixture between art and photojournalism with a more graphic touch. It was also through Makos that Andy Warhol came into contact with Basquiat and Keith Harring, two decisive encounters in his career. The close relationship between Makos and Warhol lasted from the mid 1970s until Warhol’s death in 1987. Andy Warhol, whom he befriended and often photographed, called Makos “the most modern photographer in America.
His photographs have been exhibited at the Guggenheim in Bilbao, the Tate Modern in London, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the IVAM in Valencia (Spain) and the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid. His photographs have been published in Paris Match and the Wall Street Journal. He is the author of several important books such as Warhol/Makos in Context (2007), Andy Warhol China 1982 (2007) and Makos Polaroids (2009).
He is currently (and through November 19, 2022) exhibiting FRINGE at Fahey Klein Gallery images that are an unadorned visual diary representing a blend of the worlds of uptown and downtown New York, celebrity culture and the East Coast art scene over several decades. Through his close professional and personal relationship with Andy Warhol, Makos had unprecedented access to a range of individuals who would shape the culture with their own stamp. His images capture fragments of iconic pop culture moments with a nuanced approach. Makos’ unconventional compositions and bold subjects are not analytical but improvisational,never sentimental, with a fresh, youthful perspective.
Your first photographic trigger ?
Christopher Makos : The idea of the magic of photography in a darkroom, that the photos magically appeared when put into a solution of chemicals.
The man or woman of image who inspires you?
Christopher Makos : Man Ray.
The image you would have liked to make?
Christopher Makos : A portrait of God.
The one that moved you the most?
Christopher Makos : My Portrait of Elizabeth Taylor on a Harley Davidson with Malcom Forbes.
And the one that made you angry?
Christopher Makos : Photographing Art Garfunkel.
A key image in your personal pantheon?
Christopher Makos : The last Formal Portrait sitting of Andy Warhol.
A photographic memory from your childhood?
Christopher Makos : My childhood has no relevance to my adult life. I only look forward.
With no budget limit, what would be the work you would dream of acquiring?
Christopher Makos : Love is the most prized possession.
According to you, what is the necessary quality to be a good photographer?
Christopher Makos : Curiosity, and the desire to connect.
The secret of the perfect image, if it exists?
Christopher Makos : Understanding the “moment” and how to, when to capture it!
The person you would like to photograph?
Christopher Makos : President Obama.
An indispensable photo book?
Christopher Makos : Any photo book by Man Ray.
The camera of your childhood?
Christopher Makos : My childhood was about experiencing being a child, and absorbing the world as a new minted mind.
The one you use today?
Christopher Makos : Pixel Pro7.
Your favorite drug?
Christopher Makos : Marijuana gummies.
The best way to disconnect for you ?
Christopher Makos : Going to our Country studio.
What is your relationship with the image ?
Christopher Makos : That of being a psychiatrist.
Your greatest quality ?
Christopher Makos : Patience.
Your latest folly?
Christopher Makos : Quick decisions.
The job you would not have liked to do ?
Christopher Makos : Be an airline pilot.
Your greatest professional extravagance?
Christopher Makos : Buying a luxury SUV.
What do you think are the bridges between photography and design?
Christopher Makos : The eye.
The city, the country or the culture you dream of discovering?
Christopher Makos : I love all the countries I have been too, and each time I revisit them, its like visiting them for the first time.
The place you never get tired of ?
Christopher Makos : The State of Utah.
Your biggest regret ?
Christopher Makos : That I wasn’t smarter when I was a teenager.
In terms of social networks, are you more into Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok or Snapchat and why?
Christopher Makos : All of them, but my fav, at the moment is Tik Tok, such a high level of individualism.
Color or B&W? Christopher
Makos : Both.
Daylight or artificial light?
Christopher Makos : Daylight, but in the studio, artificial light.
Which city do you think is the most photogenic?
Christopher Makos : Paris, New York, Athens, Rome, New York.
If God existed would you ask him to pose for you, or would you opt for a selfie with him?
Christopher Makos : Pose for me.
If I could organize your ideal dinner party, who would be at the table?
Christopher Makos : Man Ray, Elizabeth Taylor, Chris Hemsworth, Dali, Kate Winslet.
The image that represents for you the current state of the world?
Christopher Makos : A photo of a Tornado, or a shot from space of a hurricane, or any photo by Wegee.
What is missing in today’s world?
Christopher Makos : Genuine Peace, real Peace.
If you had to start all over again?
Christopher Makos : Not one bit, it has all unfolded the way it was supposed to, no regrets.