Bill Bernstein is a portrait photographer for editorial, healthcare, advertising, music and fine art based in New York City.
‘My journey into the club culture of New York City in the late 1970s started in December of 1977,’ Bernstein said in an interview with Glitterbox. ‘I was sent there by the Village Voice.
‘I was really impressed by the mixture of subcultures and marginalized cultures all mixing together on the dance floor,’ he added.
Bernstein spent the next two years going to every club he could find his way into to capture the night-time heart of NYC.
‘I think it was the first night at Studio 54, I heard about this amazing club downtown with this incredible DJ, that club was Paradise Garage, and that DJ was Larry Levan.’
Larry Levan was best known for his decade-long residency at the Paradise Garage club, which has been described as the prototype of the modern dance club.
Since beginning his career at the Village Voice in the 1970s, Bernstein has been involved with researching and representing contemporary cultures and sub-cultures through his photography.
‘Almost 40 years after I began photographing new York City’s disco era, I find myself equally fascinated with today’s nightlife,’ said Bernstein.
‘The patrons of the club that have sprung up in Brookyln and other boroughs – especially the LGBTQ and gender non-conforming communities – are on a quest for authenticity and acceptance.
‘I hope my work continues to capture the spectrum of humanity that makes my city a beacon of light for creativity and self-expression.’
Bernstein had a 15 year span touring at Paul McCartney’s side as his personal photographer—taking many of the photos by which most people would recognize the Beatles star.
Photographers who influenced Bernstein include Richard Avedon, William Klein, Diane Arbus and Irving Penn— according to his own profile.
He has photographed the rockstars of U2, business titan Richard Branson, and the homeless of Bowery Mission.
Bernstein captured a time when disco had taken America by storm.