“I don’t like photographing people when they just lie there. It’s like having sex with somebody and they don’t do anything.”

Frigid images have never appealed to Christopher Makos. The American photographer has always had a thing for big personalities, starting in the mid-70s, when he emerged onto the New York art scene, and continuing throughout a career that saw him shooting stars such as Salvador Dalí, Elizabeth Taylor, and Mick Jagger.

That said, the aloof “king of Pop art”—Andy Warhol—has long been a favorite subject. “He was connected,” Makos said in a recent interview. “You wouldn’t know from The Andy Warhol Diaries, but he was connected to the lens.”

Makos taught Warhol how to handle his first camera, and introduced him to Keith Haring. They hung out frequently, and Warhol would sometimes model for Makos, as he did in the “Altered Image” series of 1981, portraits in which Warhol famously posed as a woman, bedecked in a blond wig and sparkly eye shadow. The gender play outraged conservatives and divided liberals. In an e-mail, Bob Colacello, the former editor of Warhol’s Interview and a member of his inner circle, said: “Christopher Makos is the Picasso of pecs. And he made Andy into the Marilyn of male models.”

It was around this time—the early 80s (and the sexual liberation that came with it)—that Warhol embarked on a full-fledged modeling career, posing for magazine covers and commercials, and hiring Makos to shoot his first portfolios. The move solidified Warhol’s existence as a personification of the “American brand.”

“Christopher Makos is the Picasso of pecs. And he made Andy into the Marilyn of male models.”

“Andy just wanted to be pretty. He wanted to be one of the cool kids,” Makos said. “He wanted to fit in, and he never considered himself attractive or handsome, or pretty, so in the case of the modeling, he was really great in front of the camera, and you could see his naïveness in front of the camera.”

Over the years, Makos published several books of his Warhol material. But he’d forgotten about these studio portraits until he unearthed old photos for Ryan Murphy’s recent Netflix documentary. “I saw all these pictures,” Makos said, “about what we had done for Andy’s modeling career…. And so that’s how it all started.”

The pictures led to a new book, Andy Modeling Portfolio Makos. In many of the photos, Warhol crouches at an angle, his hands hanging awkwardly as he’s if unsure what to do with them. Makos tells us to take note of “the body language, and then you have to look at the hands.” He said, “The hands tell the story.” —Elena Clavarino

Elena Clavarino is an Associate Editor for AIR MAIL