Peter Hujar


The photo blog Too Much Chocolate has posted a gallery of beautiful—singularly beautiful—portraits by the late Peter Hujar. Included are photos of Andy Warhol, John Waters, Candy Darling (you know, the iconic one, "Candy Darling on Her Deathbed," used on the cover of Antony & the Johnsons album I Am a Bird Now), and this dreamy one of Susan Sontag. It's one of my all-time favorites.


Susan Sontag, 1975, by Peter Hujar. © The Peter Hujar Archive.


Here's a short bio of Hujar, taken from his page at the Matthew Marks website:

Peter Hujar (born 1934) died of AIDS in 1987, leaving behind a complex and profound body of photographs. Hujar was a leading figure in the group of artists, musicians, writers, and performers at the forefront of the cultural scene in downtown New York in the 1970s and early 80s, and he was enormously admired for his completely uncompromising attitude towards work and life. He was a consummate technician, and his portraits of people, animals, and landscapes, with their exquisite black-and-white tonalities, were extremely influential. Highly emotional yet stripped of excess, Hujar's photographs are always beautiful, although rarely in a conventional way. His extraordinary first book, Portraits in Life and Death, with an introduction by Susan Sontag, was published in 1976, but his "difficult" personality and refusal to pander to the marketplace insured that it was his last publication during his lifetime.