This is the third in a series of excerpts from the biographical introduction to Brooklyn Boys, the new monograph on Danny Fitzgerald and Les Demi Dieux.
With the start of the 1960s, Fitzgerald met Richard Bennett, the man who would become his collaborator and life partner until Fitzgerald’s death in 2000. A chiseled, masculine beauty with the natural ability of a classic artistic poser, Bennett came to New York City from working-class Scranton, Pennsylvania, looking for acting and modeling gigs. He apparently pursued Fitzgerald himself, submitting his resume to Fitzgerald through an enthusiast in the Bronx who was familiar with the photographer’s aesthetic.
Brooklyn 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.