A child of the 50s, photographer Tom Bianchi would head into Chicago to pick up 25-cent “physique” magazines at newsstands. In one, he found a picture of bodybuilder Glenn Bishop on Fire Island. In the forward to Tom Bianchi: Fire Island Pines, Polaroids 1975-1983 he says
“Fire Island sounded exotic, perhaps a name made up by the photographer. I had no idea it was a real place. Certainly, I had no idea then that it was a place I would one day call home.”
In 1970, fresh out of law school, Bianchi traveled to NYC, and was invited to spend a weekend at Fire Island Pines, where he encountered a haven of sexy gay men. With his SX-70 Polaroid camera, Bianchi documented his friends’ lives in the Pines, amassing an image archive of people, parties and private moments.
After Bianchi’s partner died of AIDS in 1988, he turned his focus to photography exclusively, producing Out of the Studio, a candid portrayal of gay intimacy. Its success led to producing numerous monographs, including On the Couch, Deep Sex and In Defense of Beauty.
You can get Fire Island Pines, Polaroids 1975-1983 here.
(Photos, Tom Bianchi; via Out)