Using polaroids, fast ISO speed film, unassuming point and shoots (and assuming digital setups), our favorite NYC nightlife photographers capture fresh perspectives after hours, documenting another generation's worth of tit slips, sweaty crowd surfing, and champagne poppin' mischief. We asked them to share with us their favorite pics, preferred venues and wildest experiences... and they did.
Favorite nightlife photo shot thus far: "Beetlejuice Tits" (below) was taken at Jonathan Toubin's incomparable Soul Clap dance party at the equally singular Glasslands. I was lucky enough to be one of the local not-really-a-celebrity judges and witness the cattiness of the predominantly female judges. They didn't want this stripey dressed woman who danced like a maniac to win because they believed she was David Johansen's daughter or something like that. I don't know if she was really the daughter of the legendary glam/calypso singer but she danced like nuts. This photo was taken after the dance judgement was over, and she had lost, and she was still dancing out of her clothing. Although I don't know who she is, she will always exist in my memory as an emblem of enjoying yourself to the extent that is humanly possible.
Left: The girl with the hands orbiting her crystal necklace is Taraka Larson of the Larson Sisters from the popular music combo, Prince Rama. I took this at a not too well attended show at Silent Barn, a great place in a creepy part of Ridgewood where people park their cars on the sidewalk and it is eerily quiet. Everyone went and touched her necklace with a pleasing symmetry that involved no direction from me somehow. Right: This is Jerry Lee performing in Jailbait. I don't think this is that great of a photo but Jerry's a great subject to photograph. I think she looks like a sexy little Martian woman and she's almost peerless as a dancer.
This is Alix from Golden Triangle. GT were performing at a clothing store and as often happens, their performance climaxed with the female members writhing on the floor.
These nails belong to the fingers of my fellow Mishka employee, Gill. Gill's constantly getting elaborate nail jobs. It's good that she has a hobby. The eyeball image is Mishka's famous "Keep Watch" logo and you may have seen all the kids wearing it on baseball hats. I took this photo at their store, 350 Broadway in Brooklyn.
I took this photo at Monster Island. This is Carly from X Ray Eyeballs wearing a topless bikini and biting down on a shirt that I drew for her band.COLLIN LA FLECHE
Favorite venue to shoot: The now-defunct Studio B. I was the house photographer there for the two years when it really got going and it was an amazing time
Most obscure thing to occur while shooting: Breaking my foot
All images were shot at Le Bain.
For more of Collin's polaroid work, visit letsbecomefamous.com
Favorite venue to shoot: The one with the lowest photographer to patron ratio.
Most obscure thing to occur while shooting: Someone getting stabbed
Where these were shot: In and around Chloe and BEast
Favorite nightlife photo shot thus far: I think this (crowd shot, below) is one of my favorite shots because I grew up shooting punk bands and seeing a DJ (Steve Aoki) jump into a huge crowd like this combines my punk rock days with the New York nightlife world I am in now. If every show was like this one at Webster Hall I would be a very happy photographer.
Left: Shot at Beauty Bar as part of their Halloween Zombie Beauty Pageant. Right: Amanda Lepore shot at Cain.
Shot at Gallery Bar.
Xavier from Justice at Webster Hall.ASH FOX (all photos edited by Kelle Calco)
Favorite venue to shoot: Definitely Ladyland, the rock n' roll dance party at the Hudson Hotel in the Library Room. It's the ideal room for any photographer. Everyone is beautiful, stylish and eccentric: think Studio 54! It's a dream for anyone who wished they were young in the mid-to-late 70s.
Most obscure thing to occur while shooting: I tend to expect the unexpected at Ladyland. You never know who your camera will land on. A few weeks ago Debbie Harry turned up. I only get starstruck around my favorite rockstars. I asked one of the DJs, Miss Guy, if he could introduce me and she kindly posed.
Favorite venue to shoot:My website and photos are not about the venue as much as the people. My goal is to seek out the craziest, most fun parties. But consistently Lavo, Juliet, RdV, Le Bain are the go-to's for me
Most obscure moment to occur while shooting: One night my friends and I were partying at RDV and a Facebook acquaintance of mine asked if she could come out and learn more about what I do. I started shooting and left my friends in charge of the table and alcohol situation. Fast forward about two hours. I stumble back to the table to find half of my friends gone and the other half belligerent. I also locate my acquaintance, who's eyes are rolling in the back of her head. We all walk outside to go home and realize that this girl can't even function and that we have no idea where she lives (we thought we heard something about Queens). Reluctantly, we all agree to take her home to my apartment. After dragging her into my stairwell, she starts throwing up and splashing around in it. After resisting, we somehow lock her in the bathroom and pray she's alive the next morning. She lived. Barely.
Girls in the smoke while Tiesto was DJ'ing at Lavo
DJ Chachi spraying champagne at RdVTOD SEELIE
Favorite venue to shoot: That's a tough one, I would say Market Hotel (I know it's closed, sort of) or Death By Audio
Most obscure thing to occur while shooting: I'm not sure what obscure means in this context, but at one show I stumbled upon a guy giving a girl head just on the edge of the crowd
Big Freedia performing at the Chicken Hut.
Moshing crowd during Cerebral Ballzy.MEL D. COLE
Favorite venue to shoot: Brooklyn Bowl, Santos and Highline Ballroom
Most obscure thing to occur while shooting: When I saw this a guy fingering one girl while another girl was giving him a BJ.
Shot at ReOpended Party Santos.For more of Mel's work, visit his PORTFOLIO, and BLOG