Apartamento is taking us inside the apartments of some of New York’s most fabled cultural figures, including Tom Sachs, Susan Sontag, Nan Goldin, Louise Bourgeois, Philip Glass, Allen Ginsberg, and Joan Didion. More than two decades after it was first published, New York Living Rooms, the first installment in Dominique Nabokov’s holy trinity of interior photography works, is getting a re-issue.
Originally commissioned as a photo essay for the New Yorker, the book documents the interior living spaces of some of the city’s most chaotic, luxurious, and luxurious living spaces. The book brings an era of New York City history back to life, seen through Nabokov’s original Polaroid photos. 102 full-color photographs present a fascinating peek inside the living rooms of the rich and famous.
Absent of the figures themselves, Nabokov’s portraits offer a somewhat voyeuristic, fly-on-the-wall experience of these intimate, domestic spheres. With nothing added and nothing altered, Nabokov calls these images her interior ‘portraits’. Some spaces are indulgent and ostentatious, others shelter the bare necessities, but Nabokov simply records them all for her fellow voyeurs and leaves us to decipher the rest.
As she wrote in her introduction, it is not exactly about interior decoration. “Although it represents a special stylistic and aesthetic approach (I used the Polaroid Colorgraph type 691 film for the first time, which provided a full-color positive transparency with accidental and eccentric colors), it is above all a document.” “No rearranging, no adding of bouquets, no use of floodlights,” she continues, “I approached the living rooms like the people I photographed, making a portrait as close to reality as possible.”
New York Living Rooms is available to buy now on the Apartamento website for €39 (approximately $46).