It’s 2021, baby, and we’re back in the club scene. Now that restrictions have lifted (at least in New York), there are some amazing club photographers who are documenting a special time in the club scene in big cities. Some people might think that clubs are just a place to go to where you can drink and have a good time. However, clubs are a part of the social fabric of cities. Clubs are where people go to experience something different. You can let off steam from the stress of your job, you can dance. Essentially, they are a place where you can feel free to be whoever you want to be. These club photographers show why clubs are important and how we can keep them alive for years to come.
Rodriguez is the club photographer for House of Yes, one of Brooklyn’s hottest clubs. He also does a lot of street photography, but I find his club portraits the most engaging. As a photographer, he has managed to create relationships with his subjects in an impressively short amount of time. His portraits show people who have carved a space for themselves in this crazy-ass world. The reason he’s so iconic as a club photographer is because he shows people in such a raw, uninhibited form. There’s no way to say what can happen at a typical night at House of Yes, but Rodriguez captures all of the weird and wonderful ways that people express themselves there.
Raquel has an incredible exhibit at Fotografiska in New York City, highlighting strippers at a famous club in Houston, Texas. As a club photographer, she managed to show how important it is to portray the relationships cultivated in a strip club. It’s not just about the relationship between customer and stripper, but also the relationships strippers have amongst themselves. Her photography captures moments in which stripping seems glamorous. Yet, there’s a sense of drama to the photos as well. It’s as if the viewer is looking at a fantasy world, and it can be disorienting. Her photos stay with you long after you look away.
As a club photographer for XS in Las Vegas, Danny Mahoney knows how to photograph people having a good time. Now, he gets to travel all over the states as he photographs festivals and the club scene. He’s photographed some major players in the world of dance music, and I respect him for that. His photography shows the glamorous lifestyle that nightlife encapsulates. He focuses on the positives, which is what going to the club is all about.
Club photographers aren’t just there to make the club look good. Their art is about reminding people what a night out at the club can offer them. When the world feels like too much, we can always end the day on the dance floor, and sometimes that makes us feel like everything is going to be okay. This may sound overly sentimental, but we need photographers like the ones mentioned above to remind us why we go out in the first place. Yes, for some people it is about getting drunk. But, for a much larger group of people it’s about finding a space where you feel welcomed. For some of us, going to the club feels like going home.