Aperture is pleased to release four limited-edition prints by legendary photographer Bill Bernstein. These iconic images not only document the people and places of the golden age of disco, but also capture the spirit and intensity of a cultural movement. Collect all four here
“The Disco, in New York City from 1977–1979, was a haven for acceptance and inclusion. It was much more than celebrities, drugs and music—The Disco was a state of mind
. These were the post-Stonewall, post–Saturday Night Fever
, and pre-AIDS years. For a brief period of time The Disco offered a place where everyone—White, Black, Hispanic, Straight, LGBT, Young, Old, Famous or Not-So-Famous—could meet up and dance their ‘Victory Dance’ without judgment or prejudice. It was a safe space where you could be whoever you wanted to be. It was this sense of freedom of expression that drew me to document these clubs, for this short two-year period, with my camera.
I didn’t understand it then, but I now believe that this era was a short-lived preview of a world of inclusion that we are just now beginning to bear witness to. With this in mind, the time feels right for a look back at this unique moment in time.” —Bill Bernstein
This picture was taken late one evening at Studio 54, and features one of several iconic neon backdrops that were used to create different atmospheres throughout the course of the night. Here, the distinctly ’70s décor gently illuminates and silhouettes a group of beautiful blurred figures dancing late into the evening. Originally an opera theater, the Studio 54 building maintained a theatrical interior which influenced the drama and electricity of Bernstein’s photographs.
is a successful photojournalist and portrait photographer who lives in New York City. He got his start in the late ’70s at the Village Voice
. He has shot for major magazines, celebrities, and businesses around the world.
The exhibition Night Fever: New York Disco 1977—1979, The Bill Bernstein Photographs
is on view at the Museum of Sex through December 2017.