Tod Papageorge – Studio 54

Tod Papageorge’s Studio 54 is a photobook around the bustling nightlife in New York in the late 1970s in arguably New Yorks most infamous club. To get in to Studio 54 you either had to be a celebrity or amazingly beautiful according to the stories and posts i’ve read about this body of work. What I like about Papageorge’s photography is that the photographs arn’t all tightly cropped, there is added free/dead space around the subject which maximises the context and adds a greater understanding of the club and it’s surroundings. Tod Papageorge’s work is very different than mine, but that’s why I like it, he is documenting the life of this club that is seemingly impossible to get into in the late 70’s. Also the photography used is beautiful.

In Papageorge’s own words, “The 66 photographs in this book were made between 1978-80 in Studio 54, a New York discothèque that, through those years, was the place to be and be seen, as the celebrities, partygoers, and those crazy for dancing who filled it every night were happy to prove. Unsurprisingly, given its reputation (which quickly flamed into notoriety during a short, 33-month existence), it was difficult to get into: the imperturbable doormen who doled out access as if they were controlling passage into a fabulous kingdom made sure that it would be. Only the famous or socially connected could assume they’d find themselves shooed around the flock of hopeful celebrants milling on the street side of the velvet rope and guided through the door; otherwise, the thing most likely to help was to be beautiful. Once inside, though, everyone there seemed thrilled by the fact, no matter how they’d managed it, an excitement fed by the throbbing music and brilliantly designed interiors, which, on a party night, could suggest anything from Caliban’s cave to a harem.”

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