First published in 1973 and now back in print, Idols by Gilles Larrain is a visual account of New York City’s art-and-music subcultures from 1969-72. The book comes with nearly a hundred studio photographs of gender-bending performers, underground musicians, and Warhol luminaries, including David Johansen, Harvey Fierstein, Taylor Mead, Holly Woodlawn, and more. After interviewing Gilles Larrain in VICE, photographer Ryan McGinley wrote the foreword to Idols, describing it as an “incredible time capsule” while marveling at its subjects’ inherent sense of style: “The greatest fashion always originates with drag queens,” he writes. “The outfit you’re wearing today was probably invented by a drag queen ten years ago.”
In a video about the new edition of Idols, Larrain discuses his creative process, which was largely an improvised endeavor with no production designers, no makeup artists, and most importantly, no Photoshop. In conjunction with the book’s reprint, NYC’s Steven Kasher Gallery hosts an exhibition of Gilles Larrain’s photos, opening November 2. In the meantime, watch Larrain talk about his book below, and click through to check out our selection of photography from Idols.