Legendary downtown photographer Richard Kern takes us back to 1995, the year he released his first, New York Girls. Back then, the East Village was still a place where getting mugged wasn’t unusual (it happened to Kern five times over the years) and Williamsburg, he recalled was still “rough.” Both neighborhoods provided the backdrop for his nude portraits of gun-toting, cigarette-smoking tattooed babes– the quintessential fantasy of New York York tough girls. “At the time, someone said in a review, ‘New York girls are tattooed and rough-looking and LA girls are blonde and enhanced,'” Kern recalled. The show features unreleased photographs spanning the ’80s through the mid-’90s, with the added bonus of never-before-screened Super 8 footage from the photo shoots.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Kern about what happened to the women in his photographs, how Instagram has changed his career, and the why he went from making edgy, “drug-infused” films to shooting mostly nude still portraits. Read more here.