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Zoom No.16, Jan/Feb 1973
2, rue du Faubourg Poissonnière, 75010 Paris.
Téléphone 523.39.81

Zoom, Le Magazine de L’image, was a Parisian photography magazine that ran from 1970 to 1991. This issue from the winter of ’73 featured Gilles Larrain’s portraits of gay and trans personalities of New York, shot in his studio in 1971. The a 22-page portfolio captured several members of The Cockettes, an avant grade psychedelic que
er theatre group founded in San Francisco in 1969, including Wally, photographed in his extravagantly defiant costume and glittery beard. Larrain’s book Idols was published a few months after this issue was released.

Translated from French:

New York lives in party time. A celebration that our European eyes are unable to decipher today, since we will often only see provocation, excess and ridicule where, with a disconcerting playful affirmation, the first jolts of a new liberation are expressed: The Gay Lib. After women and the Women's Lib, homosexuals (in English: gay) have decided to challenge, with their own weapons, the oppression suffered objectively by a species that the silent majority has long condemned: the marginalized society of homosexuals, transsexuals or transvestites. Those who do not correspond to the "dominant model", those penultimate metics for whom no Promised Land is emerging on the horizon of our so-called civilized worlds. In New York, there is also Gilles Larrain, photographer, architect, filmmaker. For the past year, his studio has been permanently open to this exuberant fauna, to the Cockettes and other "beautiful freaks" who have taken the lead in the Movement and are rediscovering, very simply and very instinctively, the virtues liberating spectacle and representation. These documents from which all irony is excluded - except that which the model itself expresses - are not those of a moralist or a juggler eager to exploit these phenomena that amaze the bourgeois.

Larrain: I am the historiographer, the specialist on this subject in New York.

Zoom: Aren't you afraid to identify with them?

Larrain: I did not identify with them. It's a moment, a passage from my work. Next year, I will do other subjects.

Zoom: Yes, but it's not by chance that you chose this one.
Larrain: I didn't choose. They are visually extremely interesting, they are very mobile, very ambiguous, extremely graphic, extremely aesthetic. They have a sense of "design" that very few people have. And they are everywhere in New York!

Zoom: Yes, but I believe there is something else. One of your characteristics is that you always participate in everything that happens. It is no coincidence that you are in New York, that you have dabbled in different media, that you have exhibited at the Paris Biennale and in various group exhibitions, that you have finally participated in everything that is done, sociologically. So we can say that you took the Cockettes as a subject because you felt, perhaps unconsciously, that it was sociologically, psychologically, a subject which made it possible, in addition to its purely formal qualities, to represent the advent of the phenomenon of bisexuality that has long been repressed in today's increasingly tolerant society in general, and specifically with regard to sexuality, especially in New York?

Larain: Yes.