Brooklyn Boys 2: Early Photography

3922This is part two in a series of excerpts from the biographical introduction to Brooklyn Boys, the new monograph on Danny Fitzgerald and Les Demi Dieux.

Fitzgerald also looked beyond Brooklyn in the late 1950s when he began photographing the young men he met at Abe Goldberg’s gym, worlds away on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. A small but fit man with his Hasselblad camera, Fitzgerald’s earliest models—Nestor, Orest, and Jerry Albanese—were aspiring bodybuilders 20 years his junior, from working class neighborhoods and families similar, but distant from his own. He met many of them at the gym, and earned their trust by asking their assistance with his own workout or partnering with them for training. In the process he impressed them with his knowledge of worldly literature and culture, as well as his ingratiating encouragement of their physical beauty, and a ten or fifty dollar bill slipped into the pocket of their chinos.

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Steven Kasher Gallery Exhibit December 2013

3296-1We are pleased to announced that the Steven Kasher Gallery in New York will host an exhibit of photographs by Danny Fitzgerald and Les Demi Dieux from December 12, 2013 through January 18, 2014.

An exhibit of some two-dozen vintage photographs and estate prints, titled “Danny Fitzgerald and Les Demi Dieux: Brooklyn Boys,” will be presented in the intimate side gallery in conjunction with an exhibit of works by famed fashion photographer Roxanne Lowit.

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Brooklyn Boys 1: Carroll Gardens

BB_CoverBrooklyn Boys, the first monograph volume of Danny Fitzgerald and Les Demi Dieux’s photography, was released in October 2013 in Europe, to be released the following month in the United States. It features over 160 of Fitzgerald’s noteworthy photographs and a biographical introduction from 12 years of research. Excerpts from the intro will be presented on this website in several parts. This is the first.

The diffuse light inside the photographer’s parents’ home in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn illuminated a young man’s flesh differently than it did outside in broad daylight. On the street the sunlight was harsh. It blared like a delivery truck’s horn, sparked like a welding iron, crackled like a transistor radio on full volume. It matched the temper and bravado of the boys in their cars and on the basketball courts, at every moment proving its power to the neighborhood. But inside the photographer’s home, upstairs, where the young men removed their clothes, lit a cigarette and sat naked in a void between the pale wall and the photographer’s camera, the sun’s quiet illumination gave everything an honest focus, a sensual solitude. It poured through curtains of lace, airborne dust and fresh smoke, as it would through stained glass, providing the young men a silent retreat directed by a master of light and composition, and the photographer himself a focus for the many incongruities in his life between inside and out. In that space, the photographer created some of his most exquisite works of art.

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Read excerpts from “Brooklyn Boys” preface

4454-2We are pleased to present excerpts from the preface to the book Brooklyn Boys: Danny Fitzgerald and Les Demi Dieux, written and edited by James Kempster and partner Robert Loncar.

1
Brooklyn Boys: Carroll Gardens

2
Brooklyn Boys: Early Photography

3
Brooklyn Boys: Richard Bennett

4
Brooklyn Boys: Les Demi Dieux

5
Brooklyn Boys: The Photography

See all the posts from the preface of Brooklyn Boys.

Buy the book.

“Brooklyn Boys” reviewed on EdgeBoston

Edge Contributor Tony Pinizzotto gave the book Danny Fitzgerald and Les Demi Dieux a positive review on the EdgeBoston website.

Read the review.

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Richard, Texas 1963

2611-3Richard Bennett was Danny Fitzgerald’s partner, both in business with their photography studio “Les Demi Dieux,” and in life for 40 years until Fitzgerald’s death in 2000.

This photograph was taken during one of their many travels together, and appears in the book Brooklyn Boys: Danny Fitzgerald and Les Demi Dieux.

Order the book on Amazon.com.

Danny, 1962

4454-2This model was named Danny, and appears to have been a small fellow, with a long neck and square shoulders, vacillating from one frame to the next between tough, playful and gentle. He posed for Fitzgerald out on the street, on the basketball court, and in Fitzgerald’s home studio. Almost always shirtless in chinos. Almost always with a cigarette. The film roll is dated 1962.

This image appears in the book Brooklyn Boys: Danny Fitzgerald and Les Demi Dieux.

Stef, 1963

3296-1Stef was a beautiful, blond athlete, whose father accompanied son on all of Danny Fitzgerald’s photo sessions. Amazing images of Stef on the Brooklyn playgrounds and in the woods were very popular in the physique magazines of the early 1960s.

Order the book on Amazon.com.

Johnny, Vinny, Carroll Gardens, 1963

1468As far as we know, Fitzgerald never printed this image. We found a short, four-frame strip of images of brothers Johnny and Vinny (second and fourth from left) smoking between two vintage cars with friends, on a street in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. The film roll was dated 1963.

This image appears in the book Brooklyn Boys: Danny Fitzgerald and Les Demi Dieux.