There I was at 3:00 AM, stark naked in the midst of a throng of sweaty partyers, somewhere in the labyrinth of The World on the hottest night of the Summer of '88. In the hands of another photographer, the spectacle of my nakedness could easily have become banal and merely lewd. But that night, Stephan Lupino charged the air around me with something that kept the predictable at bay. Art and history came together as Stephan captured an image from The World of the waning 80's. My nakedness was not an obscene gimmick. It provoked the vague concept of Our Times to distill itself into a graspable instant, to surface from the shadowy Club. Then, the artist behind the lens could recognize it, frame it, and seize it for all time.
Half-way through the shoot I said to Stephan, "I think I'll always go to The World in the nude." Stephan's 'nudifying' of World patrons in front of their peers breaks barriers in the nude one and in those who watch - a metaphor in microcosm for much bigger things. When even one person alone, before the eyes of the world, does what's assumed to be undoable, hope is unleashed.
Stephan's work empowers. Challenges. And shit, it was so much fun.
A photo from Stephan Lupino's book on The World
(Thanks to Grant McDonald of Senses of Cinema,
who found this photo in Lupino's book.)