Back to the Street
Thirty years ago, photographer Ari Marcopoulos released his monograph Portraits From The Studio And The Street. Featuring portraits of New Yorkers—from well-known figures like Willem Dafoe, Roy Lichtenstein, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Queen Latifah, to more anonymous citizens referred to only by their first name or the location in which the image was captured—it offers a glimpse into that transient and much-mythologized moment in New York’s history when the established leaders in Pop Art rubbed shoulders with their younger counterparts in the burgeoning fields of street art and hip-hop. At the time, Glenn O’Brien, whom Marcopoulos had met at Warhol’s Factory when he first moved to New York in the early 1980s, described Marcopoulos’s imagery as “soul photography.” In the book’s original introduction, he described it in terms of the following: “The shutter is a drum … the camera is a skin … the soul photographer eyeballs it.”
Today, Marcopoulos and IDEA Books launch a reissue of Portraits From the Studio and The Street at Dover Street Market in New York. Rather than a traditional re-print, however, the 2017 edition is styled as a photocopy of the original book, with previously unseen images and a new introduction by the late O’Brien. “It’s really a brainchild of five people,” explains the Dutch-born photographer. “I was more attracted to the idea of just making a photocopy zine of it—staple it, bind it, and done.” Then, Marcopoulos met with the founders of IDEA Books. “I was also talking to my buddy Brian Roettinger—we had done the Jay Z Magna Carta album cover design together—about doing a series of three books in a boxed set, and one book was going to be the bootleg of my first book,” he continues. “I decided to bring together IDEA and Brian.”
Marcopoulos emphasizes that he didn’t want to remove any photos, just add new ones. “There are images I had forgotten or previously thought not worthy of printing but now I like them. Some of them trigger memories,” he says. “I had a more visceral reaction to the new intro from Glenn when I read it in the physical book and I knew I wasn’t able to show it to him. He was excited about seeing the new version in person and he never did. That made me sad and think of other people no longer around—great souls like Glenn.”
ARI MARCOPOULOS WILL BE SIGNING HIS REISSUE OF PORTRAITS FROM THE STUDIO AND THE STREET TODAY, MAY 5, 2017, AT DOVER STREET MARKET NEW YORK.