May 7-July 10, 2015
Scott Nichols Gallery is proud to present Fire Island from photographer Tom Bianchi’s recently published book Fire Island Pines: Polaroids 1975-1983 (Damiani, 2013). Bianchi’s Polaroid images documented the life and times at the Fire Island Pines, a small close-kit gay community fifty-seven miles from New York City.
Tom Bianchi used a Polaroid SX-70 to photograph his time at Fire Island Pines. This camera soon proved to be the perfect camera to produce unassuming and intimate images. Due to the culture surrounding the LGBT community at the time, many of Bianchi friends and subjects were closeted and cautious of having their photograph taken in fear of being outed. However, Bianchi and his Polaroid camera were able to create an atmosphere of comfort and security for the people he photographed.
The images captured by Tom Bianchi depicted the golden era of the Gay Community before the AIDS crisis in the late 1970’s. These photographs document the moments of people dancing, kissing, and holding hands under the open environment of Fire Island Pines. These men for were able to be in a community where they were free to love. However, after the AIDS epidemic an entire generation of men was lost. These photographs serve as relics from a bygone era and represent an age of innocence before the crash.
Tom Bianchi was born and raised in Chicago, graduating from Northwestern University of Law in 1970. While working as a corporate attorney in New York, Bianchi began visiting Fire Island every summer, photographing, painting, and drawing on the weekends. After Bianchi’s partner died of AIDS in 1988, Tom turned his focus towards photography, publishing Out of the Studio, a candid portrayal of gay intimacy. Tom went on to publish numerous successful monographs. In 1993, Tom co- founded a biotech company to develop new H.I.V./AIDS treatments. Tom Bianchi’s work has been exhibited and collected internationally. Tom Bianchi now lives and works with his husband Ben, in Palm Springs, California.