From the ’90s to the ’00s, Magnum photographer Constantine Manos travelled across the sunshine state; capturing the life, love and style of its local residents.

From the ’90s to the ’00s, Magnum photographer Constantine Manos travelled across the sunshine state; capturing the life, love and style of its local residents.

A member of Magnum Photos since 1963, Constantine Manos was a serious black and white photojournalist until 1992, when he decided to begin shooting a project called American Colour. In search of a new kind of photograph – one that was as extraordinary as it was surreal – Manos headed down to Florida, where the light, the colour, and the people are out of this world.

“The people are a new breed,” Manos observes. “It’s a dynamic cross-section of America, from the very right to the very poor. Because of the climate, a lot of people who can’t afford a home live and sleep wherever they can. They are mixed in with the big condos and high-rise towers, the waterfront homes and yachts.”

Manos likes to visit fairs, beaches, and outdoor events in search of a new kind of photograph. “I look for specific kinds of images,” he reveals. “I’m not just satisfied with what things look like; I choose to shoot a combination of people and place that doesn’t try to explain anything but asks questions and presents problems to the viewer.”

Ft. Lauderdale. 1982. "American Colour. © Costa Manos/Magnum Photos

Ft. Lauderdale. 1982. © Costa Manos/Magnum Photos

Daytona © Costa Manos/Magnum Photos

Daytona © Costa Manos/Magnum Photos

Those photographs, originally published in American Colour (Norton, 1995) and American Colour 2 (Quantuck Lane, 2010) are now on view in American Colour/Florida Pictures at HistoryMiami Museum, through April 1, 2018. The photographs chosen were taken in Miami Beach, Hollywood Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Key West, and Daytona Beach, giving viewers a look at the surreal life along the Florida shore.

Transitioning from black and white to colour empowered Manos to go beyond the traditional photodocumentary style that journalism required of him. “I was challenged with the possibility of creating new colour images out of things that had no historical value,” he explains.

Miami Beach © Costa Manos/Magnum Photos

Miami Beach © Costa Manos/Magnum Photos

Daytona © Costa Manos/Magnum Photos

Daytona © Costa Manos/Magnum Photos

Manos went out in search of pictures that changed the way we see. Florida was the locale, ripe with possibility, fantastic lighting, and a climate that drew people out of their homes. “When you are outside, people don’t even know you are there even though you may be taking their picture. You may just have a small camera and a wide-angle lens. It was a new challenge for me,” he observes.

“With American Colour, I had no restrictions. It was an opportunity for me to take pictures that are strange, to ask questions where there we no answers or were confusing. I like to shake people up and make them wonder and think. There was no assignment. I wasn’t being paid by anyone. I did it myself. And I did it in my free time. That’s a great freedom. I had reached a point in my life where I was ready for it, not under any kind of restraints – just to be able to do it for myself, for its own sake.”

Daytona © Costa Manos/Magnum Photos

Daytona © Costa Manos/Magnum Photos

Miami Beach © Costa Manos/Magnum Photos

Miami Beach © Costa Manos/Magnum Photos

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale

Miami Beach © Costa Manos/Magnum Photos

Miami Beach © Costa Manos/Magnum Photos

Miami Beach © Costa Manos/Magnum Photos

Miami Beach © Costa Manos/Magnum Photos

American Colour/Florida Pictures is on show at the HistoryMiami Museum until April 1, 2018.

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