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Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene (Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography) Hardcover – November 19, 2013
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About the Author
Gerard H. Gaskin, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, earned a B.A. from Hunter College in 1994 and is now a freelance photographer based in the greater New York City area. His photos have appeared in the New York Times, Newsday, Black Enterprise, OneWorld, Teen People, Caribbean Beat, and DownBeat. Among his other clients are the record companies Island, Sony, Def Jam, and Mercury. Gaskin's photographs have been featured in solo and group exhibitions across the United States and abroad, and his work is held in the collections of such institutions as the Museum of the City of New York and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
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Top Customer Reviews
The whole House Ballroom came to mainstream with the 1990 documentary film Paris Is Burning, when the scene was at its peak. It was especially notable for the prevalence of the "Vogue" scene - upon which Madonna based her song. Legendary includes images from this time as well as more modern images of how the Ballroom scene has evolved. But unlike the movie, which was shot by a white female heterosexual, the book was shot by a young African American who, although also heterosexual, made the work feel less exploitative since the scene tends to favor Latino and African Americans.
The book has both black/white and color images. What is notable about the book is the acceptance of the photographer by the community and the large time scale (20 years) of the work. He quietly and respectfully moved around the rooms to take his images. And honestly, while some images are utterly fascinating, others honestly feel more like a crazy wedding reception, with a lot of motion blurred images and odd angles.
The images are large and well presented for impact, laid out on a clean white background without clutter or words. Information about each image is presented at the back of the book.
My first impression was that I wish there had been more. It felt like I reached the end of the book very fast. I also wish the photographer had stuck with either color or BW film throughout.Read more ›