The invitation/ The opulent snapshots of Studio 54

Pour yourself a glass of champagne to feel welcome along this visual ride inside those over-the-top nights in the legendary nightclub of NYC. Take a look inside Studio 54 through the lens of Tod Papageorge, the photographer who patiently documented all the decadency, vibrancy and glamour of New York’s most infamous club. The auteur began to photograph in 1962, during his last year at university.  Over the course of the 1960s, he became closely associated with the street-photography movement in New York, befriending and collaborating with notables such as Garry Winogrand, Joel Meyerowitz and John Szarkowski, then the Director of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art. In both 1970 and 1977 he received Guggenheim fellowships to pursue his photographic work, the results of which have been already published. Now the work of the former Director of Graduate Studies in Photography at the Yale University School of Art is here in all it’s nasty glory.
Studio 54 is a decadent book.

In Papageorge’s own words, “The 66 photographs in this book were made between 1978-80 in Studio 54, a New York discothèque that, for a handful of years, was the place where celebrities, partygoers, and those crazy for dancing most wanted to be and be seen.

Because of this, it was difficult to get into: the imperturbable doormen who doled out access according to rules that only they seemed to know made sure of it. The most evident way of winning them over was to be beautiful, but only the famous or socially connected could assume that they’d be shooed around the flock of hopefuls milling on the street side of the entrance rope and through the door.

Once inside, though, everyone there seemed thrilled by the fact, no matter how they managed to accomplish it, a feeling fed by the throbbing music and the brilliantly designed interior, which, from night to night, could suggest anything from Caliban’s cave to a harem.”

The book is published by Stanley/Barker. Buy your own copy here.