Christopher Henry Gallery is proud to present Christopher Makos Polaroids, an exhibition of 55 original vintage SX-70 Polaroids. Much more than photographs, Makos’ Polaroids are, in fact, precious artifacts – historic one-of-a-kind mementos from the 70s and early 80s, an era famously celebrated for its decadence but less often noted for its remarkable innocence Decades before the age of flatbed scanners, digital cameras and desktop printers, Polaroid cameras had the unique ability to capture private, unreproducible moments in time – it was a seductive producer of images that developed magically before your eyes in the privacy of your own hands. Calvin Klein reminisced, “No one was afraid of being photographed back then because it was more likely a picture would end up in the back of someone’s drawer than on Facebook, YouTube or the front page. So people were free, spontaneous, a little exhibitionistic. There was a sort of shared promise that things could remain a secret.”
This unrestricted sense of intimacy and spontaneity is captured brilliantly in the warm hues and pure poetic forms of Makos’ Polaroids. From the innocent to the sensual, from a dated automobile (i.e. 1976 AMC Pacer) to a timeless torso, objects take on a magical allure as in Beach Ball and Flippers, Champagne and Donuts, World Trade Center, and Boxing Gloves, 1981 (worn by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat for their iconic Collaborations / Shafrazi Show poster). Even in celebrity shots of Warhol, Deborah Harry, and John F. Kennedy Jr., all were shot with varying degrees of wit and humor – for Makos the Polaroid was not just a camera, it was an instrument of exploration. Having apprenticed with Man Ray, Makos understands the inner essence of things and it is this luminescence that radiates from his photographs. Time stands still – ephemera are immortalized.
The exhibition is presented concurrent with the launch of a 180 Polaroid monograph Christopher Makos Polaroids, published by Photology with text by Calvin Klein available for sale at the gallery.