Robert Longo's iconic Men in Cities illustrations -- thirty-plus years after their debut -- now seem synonymous and symptomatic of the fabled New York City of the 1980s. Those stark, impeccably tailored figures depicted in isolated moments of frenetic distress captured the imagination of the era. Rendered in vivid realism, those flailing bodies begged lots of compelling questions. What was causing such tribulation? What unseen force was provoking these sharply-dressed specimen to part with their cultivated cool? Pain? Passion? Dance? Allergies?
Bursting the bubble a little bit on that mystery comes this newly-released series of photographs by Longo himself that the artist utilized as models for Men in Cities. Removed from the glaring black and white context of the later illustrations, these figures in now-familiar poses lose their surreal power.
I first spotted this article by way of the This Isn't Happiness Tumblr, an essential clearinghouse of images that captivate both eye and mind.