Today would have marked the 79th birthday of New York photographer Peter Hujar, known for his black-and-white portraits of artists and scenesters like Susan Sontag, Peggy Lee, Candy Darling, and Paul Thek. From beginnings in Trenton, New Jersey, to Manhattan’s fashion industry, Hujar quickly gained a reputation for singular, raw portraits, but also for being difficult, scatterbrained, and reserved. However, subjects and friends found him to be a uniquely thoughtful figure, invested in conversation before his portraits—with people and animals alike.
In fact, Hujar’s photographs of farm animals and pets are now as relished and remembered as scenes and faces from the old, gritty city, all of which he imbued with a sense of intimacy, vulnerability, and insight.
Revisit Artsy’s Matthew Israel’s interview with the Director of Peter Hujar Archive and learn the stories behind some of Hujar’s most iconic images: Peter Hujar and the Art of Portraiture.