Front Cover
PowerHouse Books, 2003 - Photography - 128 pages
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During the summer of 1984, photographer Arlene Gottfried met Midnight, the man who was to become both a close confidant and the subject of her photography as she documented the next two decades of his life. At first, Midnight was a handsome and charming companion who danced and performed at nightclubs. But as time passed, he began to behave in an increasingly bizarre fashion, including being rescued by police at the top of the Williamsburg Bridge, and a stint at Bellevue Hospital. Soon after being diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, what followed were years of auditory hallucinations, self-mutilation, and other extreme behavior. Despite the endless cycles of hospitalization, jail, counseling, medication, and sudden disappearances, Gottfried stood by Midnight, who ended up for a time in a men's shelter. A visual journal of simple yet gripping portraits revealing the ravages-and redemption-of time,Midnightis shockingly intimate and profoundly touching. Gottfried shows Midnight in his many modes: playful and coy, straightforward and self-conscious, wild-eyed and distant. Gottfried's images reveal an individual wavering perilously between states of lucidity and madness, mutating between youthful abandon and age-affected disorientation and back again in a frighteningly few short years. The elasticity with which Midnight absorbs such radically different personas and age-based appearances before our eyes perhaps has never been documented before, and surely not with such intense penetration into one individual's bafflingly elusive psyche. "The photographs make me sad because I know what a warm, gentle, intelligent soul Midnight is, and I also know how he suffered." -Arlene Gottfried

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In 1984, photographer Gottfried (The Eternal Light) became friendly with a club dancer who called himself Midnight."We went to places like Coney Island and the Staten Island Ferry," she recalls in her ... Read full review


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About the author (2003)

Arlene Gottfried was born in Brooklyn. After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, she worked as a photographer at an ad agency before freelancing for top publications, including The New York Times Magazine, Fortune, Life, and The London Independent. Gottfried has exhibited at the Leica Gallery in New York and in Tokyo, and at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., among others. Her photographs are in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art. The New York Public Library, and the Maison Europeenne de la photographie in Paris. The recipient of numerous awards, including the Berenice Abbott International Competition of Women's Documentary Photography, Gottfried is the author of THE ETERNAL LIGHT. A lecturer and a teacher, Gottfried lives and works in New York City.