All posts tagged: David Armstrong

Remembering David Armstrong

The cult photographer David Armstrong, who died at his home in Los Angeles on Saturday night after a long battle with liver cancer, had a few near misses in the sixty years he spent on earth. His boyfriend died of AIDS in 1983. The following year, he returned to his native Boston to try to kick a heroin habit that was fast becoming a problem. “You’d see someone one day, and they were dead the next. I shut down,” he reportedly said of the time. He stayed clean for 17 years, but tacitly commented, throughout his life, that one never quite gets clean. He started using again in 2002. “Am I a functioning addict?” he said in an interview with The New York Times. “I’m functioning enough.” But maybe that allowed Armstrong to capture, with such an authenticity of experience, the marginal characters, the dissolute youngsters, the anything-but-a-normal-lifers. Armstrong almost exclusively photographed young men. But there was something different, distinct, about the way he captured another’s masculinity through a lens; naturally lit, but smooth-edged, almost-staged. Sexual, even voyeuristic, but …


BJP Staff