PHOTOBOOK OF THE YEAR
Christopher Street, 1976
Sunil Gupta’s Christopher Street, 1976 is “an important document of the post-Stonewall moment of gay liberation in New York City,” reflects Drew Sawyer. The largest-scale collection of one of Gupta’s earliest bodies of work, this spiral-bound photobook narrates the newfound ease of a community not yet touched by the AIDS crisis by pinpointing the street that helped define the era’s public gay scene. In these images, Gupta relishes quiet freedoms: one man’s arm slung over another’s shoulders; two men keeping brisk step with each other, their smiles affectionate, loosed of tension. Gupta’s own presence is a soft palm print on every photo. “Like most street photography, it’s about the act of looking, but that act of looking is also about cruising, at a particular moment in history,” Sawyer reflects. “Gupta is often meeting the eyes of the men he’s photographing.” This shared gaze is sometimes suspicious, but often gently, happily surprised, as though both photographer and subject are reveling in recognition––of the historical moment and of each other’s freedom to enjoy it.