“It was always the thought to humanize. The thought / feeling was to make people show their inner pride. They either looked directly at you, or they were off to the side looking to the heavens.”
Before pursuing the global subjects of his anthropological portraiture—throughout Haiti, Lapland, the Philippines, Brazil, Borneo, Morocco, Russia, etc.—a young William Coupon focused on the humans of his own environment: late-70s Manhattan, at night.
For Photo London 2019, Tenderbooks and Rare Photo Gallery (Toronto) will exhibit fourteen of Coupon’s portraits from the pulsing Studio 54 scene (1978-79); first recognised in the International Center of Photography’s 1978 exhibition “Fleeting gestures: treasures of dance photography.” This collection shows the breadth of Coupon’s vision, depicting the tribe through its movements and icons, including figures such as Andy Warhol, Grace Jones, Truman Capote, and Divine.
These photographs are on display in the West End window of Tenderbooks, accompanied by the parallel portraiture of Warhol’s Interview magazine and a variety of ephemera from the scene.
The exhibition runs from Tuesday 14 – Saturday 25 May.
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