BOOKLET Special Guest : Philip Lorca diCorcia and the birth of choreographed street photography
BOOKLET welcomed special guest Philip-Lorca diCorcia to the tenth issue. The New York-based photographer was interviewed by Nadine Barth. Here is a teaser…
He is the star of staged street photography. A cinematographer of emotions. Someone who tends to invite coincidence to a preconceived game. Just to let the viewer walk out as the winner. His story is partly shaped by the fact that many photo adepts are still unable to pronounce his name correctly (dis-core-shka), and reckon he is part of the fashion world, because after all, he occasionally delivers bizarre series to magazines such as “W”.
The other part is concerned with the reception of his work. He has not always been acclaimed to an extent which his present market value would lead you to believe. First and foremost his “Hustlers” series, which originated in California, between 1990 and 1992, soon became a hot topic of discussion, although it is exactly what made him famous. The background was an argument regarding government funding. The “National Endowment for the Arts” pulled funds from a presentation of Mapplethorpe images, which had already been granted the funding, because they were deemed too sexist. DiCorcia however used a scholarship by the same organization to portray street hustlers from Hollywood, of all things. More on this: “I was given a government grant on condition my work did not go against moral values. I protested by indicating in the legends how much I had paid the hustlers using money from this government grant.“
Thus one reads: “ Eddie Anderson, 21 years old, Houston, Texas; 20 $” or “Marilyn, Las Vegas, Nevada; 30$”. Not only the reference to the objects' purchase value was a unique feature of the series, the whole setting was too. From then on it was celebrated as the genesis of choreographed street photography, very unusual for the times….