Larry Fink, False Men and Their Makers, Studio 54, 1977

Larry Fink (1941)
False Men and Their Makers, Studio 54
Gelatin Silver Print
Gift of Gerald M. Lotenberg (Class of ’49), 1992
The Mishkin Gallery

The 1970’s ushered in the rise of bell bottoms, disco, and the glamour of nightclubs. A true Marxist at heart, American photographer, Larry Fink, explored his interest and dissatisfaction with the overindulgence associated with posh Manhattan elites in his series Social Context. His use of the black-and-white format, coupled with straight photography, elicit awkwardly personal depictions of his subjects.

In this black-and-white photograph titled False Men and Their Makers, Studio 54, we are presented with five club-goers in differing states of movement and emotion. The couple in the foreground embrace one another as they dance the night away at what was once known as ‘the most famous nightclub in the world.’ What I find most interesting, is that out of the three people with their faces visible, neither appear to be enjoying themselves with a present smile, or even laughter. The woman with glasses appears disinterested with her dancing partner, as if she’s had enough. The couple in the background, appear to be in conversation, with the woman glancing to her right, perhaps something or someone has caught her interest. The lone gentleman looking off in the distance is about to take another sip of his drink. Fink’s ability to capture these candid and unglamorous glimpses of socialites in their natural and imperfect states, shows his dedication to straight photography and the sharp focus and detail it displays.