Larry Clark (American, b. 1943) Acid, Lower East Side, 1968. Gelatin Silver Print, 12 x 8 in. Gift of Dr. Kristaps J. Keggi, 1987.71.4
A figure stands isolated on a city street; cloaked in a dark poncho with white fringe, his painted face and dark wig create a fierce ethnic drag. The photograph stands apart from the other works in Clark’s 1981 portfolio Teenage Lust that employ conventions of documentary photography to capture intimate and candid portrayals of marginalized youth. In contrast, the enveloping shadows, uneven illumination of the street lamps at night, and the turn of the figure shroud the subject in an atmosphere of suspense, creating a situation that is ambiguous yet carefully composed, alienating and yet also beckoning us to follow into the photographic space of street performance as its own trip.