Yard Press – Edo Bertoglio New York Polaroids 1976-89

On Friday 12 June at 6pm in Rome Yard Press will present Edo Bergoglio New York Polaroids 1976-89 the first polaroid book by Swiss photographer and director Edo Bertoglio. The book launch party will include a live performance by Mike Cooper and video projection by Michele Manfellotto.

«Everything started between 5th and 34th Street, on a clear and cold afternoon, Maripol and I ran into one of those sudden strong gusts of wind that make you feel weirdly uncomfortable and estranged, kind of out of context. All of a sudden we hugged, with tears in our eyes, terrified by the metropolis, by our own loneliness and the lack of stable work. Attempting to overcome our own feelings, we walked right up to the 86th floor of the Empire State Building where the warmth of the light eventually welcomed us and showed to us the very essence of the city, the clouds, and the skyscrapers, the river and the ocean. It was certainly clear that New York was the only place where we wanted to stay. That city was going to be the luminous background of my photographs.»

Edo Bertoglio

Since the ‘60s, the use of Polaroid film has been a new frontier, an obvious and unavoidable instrument for immediacy whose emotional, informal and generational potentialities Edo Bertoglio has well understood and employed since the very first moment.
New York Polaroids 1976-1989 (Yard Press, 2015) is the culmination of his personal diary that covers more than ten years, in which the Swiss photographer and filmmaker used the camera as a pop and documentary tool at the same time, recording in one single copy snapshots, portraits, interiors and views full of rare poetism and power; in these scenes we find his friends and some of the most important artists of the New York of that era, including Arto Lindsay, Grace Jones, Maripol, Glenn O’Brien, Debbie Harry, Madonna, Andy Warhol and John Lurie. Through these photographs, an easygoing and dramatic insight flows in a fluid and intangible way; Bertoglio guides us along a generational journey that is gorgeous and decadent, made of emotional outbursts, rarefied moments and pauses that at times almost resembles the aesthetics of Renaissance art. The colour rules the roost, it is the carrier energy, the primary source of expression of this artist, with its net backgrounds, its brutal cuts, its strenuous fight between fullness and emptiness that has no solution.

The volume includes a text by Mariuccia Casadio and an excerpt of the interview with the artist by Stefano Bianchi.


Edo Bertoglio (Lugano, 1951) graduated in film directing and editing at the Conservatoire Libre du Cinéma Français in Paris (1975), then moved to London and in 1976 to New York, where for fourteen years he lived and worked as a photographer for various American, Japanese, French and Italian newspapers and magazines belonging to the world of fashion, art and lifestyle. From ‘78 to ‘82, he was a regular contributor to Andy Warhol’s magazine Interview and collaborated with the rock music critic Glenn O’Brien’s within the programme TV Party, which focused on New Wave and counterculture movements. In 1980 he directed Downtown 81, a film about a day in the life of graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, virtually unknown at that time, showing a glimpse of the vibrant New York art community. Completed in 1999 after various vicissitudes, the film was presented in 2000 at the Cannes Film Festival in the Quinzaine des Réalisateurs section. From February 15th to April 5th, 1981, Edo Bertoglio was among the protagonists of New York/New Wave, which took place in the abandoned spaces of PS1 in New York. In 2005 he finished his second film, Face Addict, which was successfully projected at the 58th Locarno Film Festival. It is the story of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s Downtown Scene: a poignant path that rediscovers New York, twenty years later, through the memories of the musical and visual arts’ main protagonists. Currently, Edo Bertoglio is still engaged in the production of documentary films and photographic projects.

For the past 40 years Mike Cooper has been an international musical explorer, performing and recording, solo and in a number of inspired groupings and a variety of genres. Initially a folk-blues guitarist and singer songwriter his work has diversified to include improvised and electronic music, live music for silent films, radio art and sound installations. He is also a music journalist, writing features for magazines, particularly on Pacific music and musicians, a visual artist, film and video maker, collector of Hawaiian shirts and appears on more than 60 records to date.

Michele Manfellotto (Rome, 1977) is a writer and a visual artist. His next book (a collection of photographic images obtained from the artist’s video diaries) will be published by Yard Press as part of the Black Books series. The video Weather Diary (Infinito), projected in this occasion for the first time ever, is a tribute to the autobiographic artworks of Luigi Ghirri and George Kuchar, and it is included in a wider video diary project still in the works.

Via degli Argonauti 16, Rome
Opening at 6pm
Book signing at 7pm