New York, that concrete jungle where dreams are made of. It’s a city that will always live in the shadow of its glorious yesteryears, “a mythical time where you could stumble into Basquiat, Patti Smith or Debbie Harry at the corner deli,” as Gregoire Alessandrini remembers. The Parisian photographer, video director and producer spent eight years in the city, and his photographs give us a glimpse into a world gone by.
Alessandrini went to New York as a film student. “It was just what I had imagined and so much more. I started exploring the city from one end to the other, always carrying my old Nikon camera with me.”
His work at the time was untrained and perfectly captures the irreverence of the city. It’s carefree and exciting, and caught in a euphoria of a new generation of gay men after the epidemic of the 80s. “At the time, I didn’t pretend to be a professional photographer. I guess I had the intuition of being witness to a vanishing world. Here and there, you could see the remains of a golden era, of a certain idea of New York. It was a period when everything seemed possible, cheap, simple and wild.”
Here, we show Alessandrini’s photographs from New York City’s Pride marches in 1993. Drag queens, leopard-print-chapped cowboys and grandmas took to the avenues in celebration of the LGBT+ community. “Today, I’m sincerely glad to know that these images are of interest to a nostalgic New Yorker like me,” says Alessandrini, “but also to the younger generations, curious about this (not that far away) past.”