Photographer Richard Rinaldi‘s new book, Manhattan Sunday (Aperture) chronicles six years, starting in 2010, where he visited NYC nightclubs. He didn’t shoot the patrons in the act of nightclub fun but rather after the party was over, between midnight and 10AM on Sunday mornings, on their way back home.
Night-life personalities like Honey Dijon and Ladyfag can be spotted, but most of the portraits are of nameless club-goers with no identifying captions, other than the time of the photograph.
In 1986, while visiting colleges in New York, his father took him to Danceteria, the now legendary downtown nightclub, although he and a friend were underage at the time.
“He had the savoir faire to give the doorman a $20 bill.”
He ended up enrolling in NYU, studying photography by day and dancing at night, becoming a regular at places like the World, Mars and Palladium. He kept clubbing through the 1990s at hot spots like the Roxy, SqueezeBox and the Sound Factory.
“Sound Factory for me was my golden era. It was so New York, with kids from all over the city.”
In 1996, he learned he was H.I.V.-positive and pulled back from the scene, going out less and less. A couple of years later, he met his long-term partner Seth Boyd, an architectural photographer, and began taking his photography seriously. Encouraged and accompanied by Mr. Boyd, he went back into the club scene and several years later, he combined his two passions. He set up his Wisner 8 X 10 view camera outside of clubs like Roseland, Pacha and the Eagle, as club-goers stumbled out at dawn.
“The other people you saw beside the clubbers were the street cleaners. There was this nice dichotomy between the mess makers and the ones cleaning up after them.”
In 2015, after receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship, he took his project inside clubs as well, shooting at gay-friendly parties like Brut at Santos House and Holy Mountain at Slake.
“A couple times I partied and then in the morning when things were winding down, I took out the camera and started to shoot; that was a little wacky. A couple times I photographed first and then put the camera away and had fun afterward. That was the smarter way of doing it.”
You can get Richard’s book here.
(Photos, Richard Rinaldi; via NY Times)