Good morning, Tuesday. Quel gloomy in New York and appears to be that way for the next several days so meh. But if you're a fan of gloomy gorgeousness, you have to see the provocative and beautiful documentary "See Know Evil" about Davide Sorrenti, who tragically died young and was a prolific artist and photographer in his short and rather infamous life.
So a bit of history for those of you not indoctrinated in the vibes of 90s New York City- it was a very special time, I moved to New York in 1993 and felt the buzz of art, fashion, hip hop, street culture. It was vital and exciting and a little bit fucked up and dark. There was so much happening downtown you almost couldn't believe the creativity you were exposed to on a daily basis. It was like going into another world, the kind of world you always wanted to be in in as you came of age but couldn't access back home. It was the 90s that came out of growing up studying Nan Goldin photos and early Details Magazine, a backlash to 80s excess, and a response to Kurt Cobain's call to entertain us.
I fell hard for the art and fashion and music of the 90s. I loved Portishead, Brit Pop, Massive Attack, all of that phenomenal hip hop. And we know how great the fashion was- not necessarily the Raver lane but more the minimalist, sexy, unfortunately termed heroin chic trip. When you look at Davide's photography and watch an entire documentary about his life, you'll see how his work and time on Earth had that Roman candle quality that so many lives of artist have. They burn bright, and then fade away.
Looking at these photos gives me so much inspiration- the color, the patina, the quiet seductiveness. I love the styling too- there's a real elegance there I no longer see, and even though these kids were little street rats, they had so much style. I miss that level of
on point-atude. How can you not? I can remember very specifically how many beautiful people were in the city back then. My type of beautiful anyway. A little ragged, jagged, and raw. With that casual lank best accompanied by a Camel Light and a Heineken.
In any event, the 90s are back in a big way- fetishized by all the young people moving to a city that is no longer affordable (it wasn't then either but more so now) and lacking in that gritty grime of yesteryear. What I found so interesting about the documentary was his mom's explanation of the whole "heroin chic" moment and how Davide became a scapegoat for the whole movement. It's true he had a disease that most likely killed him, but he also was on heroin at the time, like so many of those mini Baudelairians running around Manhattan back then. If art is about documenting what's happening, I'm not sure you can blame a photographer for capturing it. As for the fashion industry, I'm not sure it's ever been their responsibility to not seize upon a moment in pop culture, but as we know since that whole backlash, the fashion business and particularly runways and magazines changed considerably.
Regardless, these pictures are achingly beautiful. And they make me remember why I love photography so much in the first place. Crank up the Portishead and enjoy the rain. Have a 90s moment. Go ahead. I'm doing it too.
Cause that's what's up this trip hop of a Tuesday in the 212. Yours, in pretty pictures. XO