La Lettre

Girlpower (2011)
the Hilton Brothers

I have always loved the process, the journey. This book (Tyrants and Lederhosen), more than ever, is about a journey shared, not taken alone. The editing process of this book turns out to have been a more challenging journey than I could have imagined. Questioning my choices rather than relying on my intuition has taken me to places that not only question me, but confront my sense of judgment, my sense of choice, my sense of resolution.

I met Paul Solberg over seven years ago, shortly after finishing work on my book Exhibitionism. Exhibitionism was edited by my good pal and friend, Calvin Klein. He walked me through my work in a way that I never had done before. Calvin is someone known for his sense of personal style. This style was a signature of the fashion empire he founded. Sometimes it is easy to blur the line between individual and icon. I asked Calvin the individual to help me on Exhibitionism, because I think of Calvin first as an individual, (always my mantra with friends who happen to be famous). Being the friend that he is, Calvin shared his time, experience and unique sensibility with me. It was an amazing experience.

I had also just come back from a trip to Lanzorate, Spain. I met Paul Solberg through our friend, Stephen Kinsella, who I ran into one afternoon in the West Village, my neighborhood in New York. Through my enthusiasm for travel in general, and Lanzorate in particular, Paul and I connected. We began our travels together, visiting Lanzarote soon after. This was the start of our journey, our conversation as photographers. In the beginning it was just sharing adventures, trips, experience, and it grew into a photographic love affair. I had met someone who enjoyed the journey, the trip, the experience as much as my self.

Paul began to share my studio space, and one day while I was proofing large prints from my book Equipose, (collected photographs I'd taken of horses stabled by friends such as Kelly Klein and Agatha Ruiz de La Prada), Paul happened to be in the process of proofing some of his large format flower images. His flowers were spread out around the studio next to my horses. Just like that. It was all so natural, all so beautiful, just right, without the self-conscious strain of commitment, but the sense of the moment, the sense of now. It was the beginning of what later was to become the art duo known as The Hilton Brothers. This book is intended to show the progression, the growth, the work from the beginning up to the very present.

Working with Paul on this project has been intense. High hopes and expectations have been met with raised voices, frustrations, and lots of good meals together. There have also been quiet moments when vision is restored. This kind of experience doesn't happen every day. It has been a long time, maybe back to the time of Andy Warhol, or Malcolm Forbes, or maybe even that moment at Chateau Balleroy in Normandy, France when I was doing a portrait of Elizabeth Taylor. We stared into each other's eyes, and it was that moment again.

I recognize now that in these moments of collaboration we humans compromise, we share. When I ask the question "Why", these moments answer "Because".

Christopher Makos, New York City, 2011

La Lettre