The Urban Lens: Ira Fox travels back to the ’90s for the East Village’s Wigstock drag festival

Posted On Fri, November 4, 2016 By

Posted On Fri, November 4, 2016 By In East Village, Features, History, photography, The urban lens

6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Ira Fox takes us back in time to the East Village of the ’90s. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

Ira Fox is best known for his use of black-and-white photography and cinematic approach, credited to his background in theater. He focuses on urban New York scenes and portraits, one example of which is his series “Wigstock at the Palladium.” Wigstock was the annual Labor Day drag music festival in the East Village that was co-founded by Lady Bunny and hosted the likes of Crystal Waters, RuPaul, and Leigh Bowery in the ’80s and ’90s. In his shots, which were taken outside the famed Palladium nightclub, Ira captures the diverse characters who partook in the jubilant event during the ’90s.

How long have you been a New Yorker?
I was born in The Bronx and have lived in New York City all my life, 59 years.

Tell us about the series you chose.
I chose “The Wigstock” series because the photos have a definite stamp of New York City, in character and style symbolized by the mid to late ‘90s. I spotted some drag queens either coming or going to an event at the Palladium, which was located around Irving and 14th Street. I engaged them and they posed for me. One of them gave me the finger. But, I was thrilled at the reactions I got from my subjects…very honest and realistic portraits of guys dressed up with lots of attitude. I especially loved the curlers!

How do you feel the East Village has changed from the ’90s to now?
I think the East Village has been modernized and commercialized for tourists, education and commerce. The Palladium was a grand old theater that hosted many Wigstock events, but has now been turned into a New York University dormitory. There’s a PC Richards store there now as well, and I think the only thing that remains might be the old phone booth in front.

What types of subjects tend to catch your eye?
I am attracted to subjects who have a certain self-confidence, strength and individual identity that is all their own. I’m fascinated with strong characters who aren’t afraid of being themselves. I find myself reacting to their inner life, and I’m moved to preserve it.

What else are you working on right now?
I’m working on a new series of color street portraits, which I hope will turn into a gallery show. I’m shooting people on the fringe; scrappy down and out New Yorkers and struggling downtown denizens on the streets of Soho and Tribeca.

Instagram: @irafoxphoto
Website:
 www.irafox.com

▽ ▽

ira-fox-wigstock-16

ira-fox-wigstock-25

ira-fox-wigstock-5

ira-fox-wigstock-22

ira-fox-wigstock-18

ira-fox-wigstock-19

ira-fox-wigstock-1

ira-fox-wigstock-9

ira-fox-wigstock-15

Winston West Fine Art is offering 50 percent off all Ira Fox’s 8″ x 10″ prints (enter the promo code 6SQFT at checkout) and free framing for the first 20 buyers. View the collection here >>

RELATED:

All images © Ira Fox

Tags : ,

Neighborhoods : East Village

MOST RECENT ARTICLES

  • SPACE T2: A 1959 hunting shack transformed into an off-grid studio by Stephen Holl

    SPACE T2: A 1959 hunting shack transformed into an off-grid studio by Stephen Holl

    Space T2 is a minimal artist studio located in Rhinebeck, NY. Stephen Holl Architects built the off-grid cabin using what remained of ...
  • Weekly highlights: Top picks from the 6sqft staff

    Weekly highlights: Top picks from the 6sqft staff

    CNN’s Don Lemon sells Harlem condo for small profit 128 tall buildings were constructed in 2016, a world record Tennis ...
  • Art Nerd New York’s top event picks for the week – 1/19-1/25

    Art Nerd New York’s top event picks for the week – 1/19-1/25

    In a city where hundreds of interesting happenings occur each week, it can be hard to pick and choose your ...
  • $12,000/month to rent this triplex townhouse beauty in Boerum Hill

    $12,000/month to rent this triplex townhouse beauty in Boerum Hill

    Renters can enjoy Brooklyn townhouse living in all its glory here at 306 State Street, a Boerum Hill property now ...
  • Millennial home buyers prefer DIY over going into debt over renovations

    Millennial home buyers prefer DIY over going into debt over renovations

    Millennial homeowners—yes, they do exist—are a careful lot, according to Better Homes & Gardens’ ninth annual survey of trends in ...
  • Have your apartment photographed by 6sqft!

    Have your apartment photographed by 6sqft!

    Did you spend months decorating your apartment? Is your home historic or quirky? If you live in a unique or ...
  • Express N train tunnel will close for a year in Brooklyn; Map shows the CO2 savings of CitiBike

    Express N train tunnel will close for a year in Brooklyn; Map shows the CO2 savings of CitiBike

    The express N train tunnel between the 36th and 59th street stations in Brooklyn will close for a year for repairs ...
  • The first presidential inauguration was held in New York City in 1789

    The first presidential inauguration was held in New York City in 1789

    As Washington, D.C. attempts to rein in the crowds on this Inauguration Day, New Yorkers can be thankful someone else ...
  • FREE RENT: A roundup of NYC’s latest rental concessions

    FREE RENT: A roundup of NYC’s latest rental concessions

    Midtown Rental Skyscraper ‘Tower 31‘ Offering One Month Free or One Month OP on Select Leases [link] Leasing Launches at ...
  • VIDEO: Watch the MTA clean subway tracks with their new Mobile Vacs

    VIDEO: Watch the MTA clean subway tracks with their new Mobile Vacs

    This past May the MTA recorded 50,436 subway delays, 697 of which were caused by track fires that could have ...
  • The Urban Lens: Inside ‘Little Odessa,’ Brighton Beach’s quaint beachfront Russian community

    The Urban Lens: Inside ‘Little Odessa,’ Brighton Beach’s quaint beachfront Russian community

    6sqft’s ongoing series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. ...
  • Whole Foods will open a lower-priced ‘365’ store in Downtown Brooklyn

    Whole Foods will open a lower-priced ‘365’ store in Downtown Brooklyn

    Downtown Brooklyn is quickly becoming one of NYC’s most desirable commercial hubs. On top of hosting a lengthy roster of big ...

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS

Thank you, your sign-up request was successful!
This email address is already subscribed, thank you!
Please provide a valid email address.
Please complete the CAPTCHA.
Oops. Something went wrong. Please try again later.