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Peter Hujar
Night
HC, 29 x 29 cm., o.pp.
Matthew Marks / Fraenkel 2005

In the tradition of Brassaï's "Paris at Night," Peter Hujar's "Night" brings together 43 hauntingly beautiful images of New York City. With the urban nighttime photographs reproduced in this volume, Hujar joins Weegee and Berenice Abbott in the grand tradition of New York street photography. These pictures?most published here for the first time?provide us with a glimpse of a New York that has all but disappeared, one populated by the late-night demimonde, crumbling cobblestones, and landfills before the coming of Battery Park City. Photographing costumed Halloween partygoers, dilapidated domestic interiors, cruisy city parks, barren loading docks, and trash-strewn parking lots, Hujar has left behind his own unique record of a world now lost, in a time before AIDS and a downtown before gentrification, all wrapped in the velvety blackness of the night. Sometimes playful, often bleak, many of these photographs have an underlying sadness that is bound up in the palpable mortality of all Hujar's subjects, from late-night revelers to the shifting, often decaying urban landscape.