Date: October 23. Venue: Fred Pomerantz Art & Design Building (Katie Murphy Amphitheatre)
Andy Warhol once said, “If you don’t know Patrick McMullan, you ought to get out more!” Indeed, Patrick McMullan knows how to party, spending over three decades behind the velvet ropes. so8os: A Photographic Diary of a Decade documents Patrick’s 80s downtown club scene beginnings. From Studio 54 to Area and Limelight, witness never-before-seen images of pop artist Andy Warhol, rock greats Duran Duran and Billy Idol, fashion muses Grace Jones and Bianca Jagger, punk royalty Cyndi Lauper, fashion curator Diana Vreeland, and designers Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs, to name a few.
During his presentation with Valerie Steele, Patrick reminisces how in his day it was rare for someone to own a camera. Growing up, he used to borrow his sister’s camera. As a young photographer, he sought an apprenticeship with Terry Stephenson and learned a lot working as a nightlife photographer at Studio 54. A premonition unfolded as Patrick once told his guidance counselor he wanted to make money partying, and so it was, his love affair with photography landed him into nightlife magazines like Details, 212 and New York. In his day, there weren’t many nightlife photographers, no step-and-repeat, and he would always carry a pocket camera as backup.
In present day, with the latest gadgets, Patrick admits cellphones have replaced the pocket camera. Back in the 80s, as Patrick remembers it, club-goers wore a lot of costumes and drag outfits for fun, but in the 90s, fashion took center-stage, as people began dressing to impress. Patrick watched over the years as 40 shows in Bryant Park during New York Fashion Week multiplied to 140 fashions shows at Lincoln Center’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
The mic opened up for a Q&A segment and Patrick encouraged photography enthusiasts to follow their dream with the “Persistence is Key” speech and how capturing performers, models and extroverts make for great photography. When asked about his secrets to nightlife discoveries, he simply replied, “Bigger clubs are more fun,” and credits The Standard and Gansevoort as good places to party.
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