Photographer and filmmaker Edo Bertoglio’s tales of first moving to New York often sound like something straight out of a movie: partying with Andy Warhol (and shooting for Interview magazine); wandering the streets of the Lower East Side, looking to score and keep the night rolling; rocking out with the likes of Debbie Harry and Grace Jones.
“I’d imagined to myself to move [to New York] and discover the metropolis of the future: beautiful, modern, shiny, and I ended up on the bus, on my way from the airport to the city centre, staring at old streets and rusty cars,” Bertoglio recounts in his debut photo book, New York Polaroids 1976—1989. “This was my first experience of a city looking really decadent in the middle of a big economic crisis…[and] the areas around South Manhattan were becoming a massive outdoor stage, right before our eyes, with people playing music, painting, writing, acting.”
Inside the Polaroid-dominated tome, Bertoglio gives a rare glimpse of candid moments with some of the period’s biggest names (Madonna, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Glenn O’Brien), juxtaposed with stills of the nameless faces of the period’s nit and grit: a time when underground raves and a prevalence of drugs created a frightening sense of community among struggling artists (Bertoglio himself admits to having struggled with addiction, and having lost virtually everything along the way).
Luckily, alongside his memories, he still has an extensive collection of incredible photographs of a time period so many wish they were a part of. Looking to relive New York in the ’70s? Click through to see the city through Bertoglio’s eyes.