CONSTANTINE MANOS [comments by Isidoros (posted on MGSA-L on 10/19/99)]
Happily, George, I shall add a few more words on the superb Greek-American
artist-photographer Constantine Manos, from the few notes I have kept, and
whatever memory may carry over from my recent visits to the Benaki
Constantine Manos is known to me, and to many, I hope, by now, friends of
from a magnificent photographic album he produced in the early seventies
"A Greek Portfolio." Shot about a decade earlier during several years of
and touring the country, the "Greek Portfolio" "captures" a Greece of
simplicity and power and grace, and a peoples' psyche that was kept
intact as if from the primordial ages. Done in black-and white, Manos'
have stilled in time for us all to peruse, to glance - and be-cry - over a
severe austerity, on the one hand, and of unspoken esoteric, as well as
beauty and wealth, which has been fast adulterated, falsified and has
memorable are his pictures from Crete and, especially, those from
there been I think the first to "discover" the island and make it known,
its lyric and classical Greek beauty, and particularly for the beauty of
islanders, still clad then in traditional Hellenic costumes -- likely fair
major Minoan settlements that had survived over many an odd times in this
Aegean island's fair protective isolation.
Manos was born in (North or South, sorry) Carolina, where, I think, also
He worked in Boston, first, as official photographer of the Boston
Orchestra, and then in major magazines, such as Time and Life. I know
besides the "Greek Portfolio", he has published several other books - one
a kind of
portrait of the Boston Symphony, I saw once in the States - but, I regret
to say, I
do not remember their names -- yet, since I may not revisit the Benaki and
about for days, I might as well post this note, even if incomplete. I
know, too, that
he has been recipient of several major photographic awards, and that his
photographs are in some of the US, and not only, major modern art
The "Greek Portfolio", published first, as I see from my copy, in 1972, is
now a collector's item; but, I think there has been issued now a special
edition, for this exhibit -- I will find out tomorrow and shall post to
the list for
those who may possibly be interested. And, now, a personal note.
In coming to Athens--what must be five or six years ago, first--to discuss
mounting of this exhibit, Constantine Manos visited several institutions
their facilities, among which the Ionic Center, in Plaka, of which I am
Mid-morning, of what I remember to had rather been a day of Spring, and
pleasantly surprised were I to recognize in the "Greek-American artist"
in my office, and who my secretary had been told a coule of days before by
secretary of the Ministry of Culture that would be visiting, the admired
Portfolio" photographer. We spent a couple of, what were for me,
congenial hours, and I still remember the warmth of the face, the dark
and gentle countenance as we spoke of "that" Greece and of "those" Greeks.
'60's were only thirty years past, yet, in the intervened time, there
both to had opened a gap of chaotic dofference. Before leaving, I think i
also told that, his American immigrant parents were refugees from Mikra
leaving for the States in the early '20's, I think from Constantinople.
And he was,
too, quite generous, leaving with me several handsome hand-printed copies
those photographs, which I treasure.
With good wishes to all,
Photograph ("Priest in the Vineyard") by Constantine Manos published in
National Herald issue of 10/16/99
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