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Long-lost Polaroids of 1970s-80s New York: Andy Warhol, Madonna, Debbie Harry and more


Edo Bertoglio, a Swiss photographer who roamed New York City during the 1970s-80s, has released his forgotten Polaroids of the birthplace of New Wave and No Wave punk.

Arriving in New York with his then-wife and longtime collaborator Maripol, the two were overcome by emotion upon finally arriving in the city of their dreams. “Everything started between 5th and 34th Street, on a clear and cold afternoon, Maripol and I ran into one of those sudden strong gusts of wind that make you feel weirdly uncomfortable and estranged, kind of out of context,” Bertoglio once wrote.

“All of a sudden we hugged, with tears in our eyes, terrified by the metropolis, by our own loneliness and the lack of stable work. Attempting to overcome our own feelings, we walked right up to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building where the warmth of the light eventually welcomed us and showed to us the very essence of the city, the clouds, and the skyscrapers, the river and the ocean,” he added.

“It was certainly clear that New York was the only place where we wanted to stay. That city was going to be the luminous background of my photographs,” he added. What ensued was years living, breathing and documenting a time in downtown New York City when the likes of Andy Warhol, Madonna, Debbie Harry, Grace Jones and many, many more lit up the place.

While Bertoglio was a professional photographer, the Polaroids taken on his Polaroid SX-70 during this time are evidently used in his leisure time, his visual diary if you like. The photographer chronicled his daily life in the late ’70s and ’80s heyday.

Even though Bertoglio went on to release numerous photography books, his publication of New York Polaroids 1976—1989 was the only one to document his Polaroids. A time in his life when he, like so many others, he became addicted to drugs in a fast-paced party lifestyle, Berltogio kept the visual memories of this time locked away until he was ready.

Now, images that were locked away for decades have been made available. Here’s a selection taken from New York Polaroids via Juxtapoz:

(All images in this article have been sourced via New York Polaroids and Juxtapoz)