Bill Bernstein is a successful photojournalist and portrait photographer who lives in New York City. He got his start in the late 70's at The Village Voice. He has shot for major magazines, celebrities and business around the world.
Bernstein was Sir Paul McCartney's personal tour photographer from 1989-2005 and had the opportunity to travel around the world capturing "McCartney On Stage, Off Stage and Backstage", resulting in a coffee table book and world-wide photography exhibition of the same name in 2005.
It was The Village Voice that first assigned Bill to cover an event at Studio 54 in 1977. After shooting an awards dinner for Lilian Carter, President Jimmy Carter's mother, Bill bought ten rolls of Tri X film from a departing paparazzi and decided to hang around and check out the "regulars" as they floated in later that night. He was drawn into the alter-world of the disco and decided to investigate, with his camera, this fascinating new culture for the next few years.
“The Disco, in New York City from 1977-1979, was a haven for acceptance and inclusion. It was much more than celebrities, drugs and music – The Disco was a state of mind.
These were the post-Stonewall, post-Saturday Night Fever, and pre-AIDS years. For a brief period of time The Disco offered a place where everyone – White, Black, Hispanic, Straight, LGBT, Young, Old, Famous or Not-So-Famous – could meet up and dance their ‘Victory Dance’ without judgment or prejudice. It was a safe space where you could be whoever you wanted to be. It was this sense of freedom of expression that drew me to document these clubs, for this short two-year period, with my camera.
I didn’t understand it then, but I now believe that this era was a short-lived preview of a world of inclusion that we are just now beginning to bear witness to. With this in mind, the time feels right for a look back at this unique moment in time.”