Ethan James Green: Young New York
“Young New York”, Ethan James Green’s first monograph just published by Aperture, presents a selection of striking portraits of New York’s millennial scene-makers, a gloriously diverse cast of models, artists, nightlife icons, queer youth, and gender binary-flouting muses of the fashion world and beyond.
Under the mentorship of the late David Armstrong, Green developed a sensitive and confident style and an intense connection with his subjects; his luminous black-and-white portraits, many taken in Corlears Hook Park on the Lower East Side, bring to mind Diane Arbus’s midcentury studies of gender nonconformists. Although he often shoots on commission for fashion brands and magazines, for Young New York, Green photographed his close friends and community for more than three years, and his humanist approach transcends the trends of the moment.
“Young New York” promises to announce a bright young talent who is redefining beauty and identity for a new generation. In the words of the model and actress Hari Nef, one of Green’s frequent subjects, “In Ethan’s world, the kids who inspire him ought to be (and are) the subjects of his work. Ethan is an artist among so-called image makers.”
“Five years ago, I met Ethan James Green in a nightclub,” she writes. “He found me sucking down a cigarette in an alley behind Up & Down, a swanky club usually frequented by Russian models and buttoned-down financiers. Big checks lured downtown DJs all the way up to Fourteenth Street, and the kids followed. We’d tear up the floor, dodging $14 cocktails by sipping on a stranger’s bottle. Our domain, until then, had been limited to Bushwick raves and East Village dives.
We were thrilled—secretly—to party in a posh space like Up & Down, rubbing shoulders with AS| APs and Hadids. We posed for party pics and posted them on Instagram, our new favorite app. Thursdays we got high, or merely felt like it—soaring to a place we couldn’t quite name but grew up wanting to be. Fridays were different. ‘Queernight,’ ‘Blacknight,’ ‘Tranny night’; I’d come to hear management describe Up & Down Fridays in a myriad of colorful ways – usually through a snicker, or a barely stifled sneer. Fridays were a night for everyone else.”