David Armstrong: Night and Day
Available from Donlon Books (E84PH)
Night and Day is Armstrong’s most recent photography book. It contains photos taken in New York and Provincetown, during a nine to ten month period, in 1979. Armstrong is an American photographer; most notorious for his editorial shoots often seen in magazines, such as Vogue and GQ. He is also commonly associated with ‘The Boston School’ in the 1970’s, alongside artists such as Nan Goldin and Jack Pierson, with their known style of personal snapshot portraits. Armstrong first became noticed through his intimate portraits of men, frequently studying lovers and friends, in sharp focus.
These coloured photos, in Night and Day, create an atmosphere that the viewer wants to intrude into or become a part of. He photographs an eclectic range of people, all whom Armstrong illustrates to be a part of a particular ‘scene.’ Not many, and I certainly can’t, define what this ‘scene’ is. However, these social photos almost illustrate pictures from the ‘cool kids’ party that you would never get an invite to. Although, Armstrong is allowing us a glimpse in to these subjects social life that is evidently a big part of their ‘scene.’ All dressed in 50’s and 60’s clothing they produce their own cornerstone style in 1979, almost mirroring the hipsters of today. Armstrong states that “these are all people that want to have their picture taken,” and this is obvious within the photos, as the subjects become involved with the presence of the camera.
Jack Pierson tells David Armstrong, in a documented conversation, in the back of the book that “your pictures are good, but thirty years later they seem genius.” This element of the photos almost being vintage as well, does undeniably add to the image of coolness. Armstrong has allowed the viewer into a world that they can no longer be a part of, but must merely observe from a distance, through his photos.