Vince Aletti has been allotted more firsts (and almost firsts) in his life than the average person. He was the first person to write about disco. He was one of the first writers to exclusively focus on photography shows in New York. He is the only person to have penned, “This is Not a Fashion Photo” a regular column in W Magazine, where he choses pictures that look like they were made for a fashion publication but weren’t. It’s all part of his interest in niche culture, photography and fashion. I sat down with Aletti to talk about how he’s spent the last forty years studying, curating and reporting on culture.
Stephen Koch is the author of The Modern Library Writer’s Workshop, The Breaking Point and Stargazer: The Life, World and Films of Andy Warhol. He is also an educator and owns and manages the archive of the tortured, downtown photographer Peter Hujar. We spoke at length about Hujar’s life—his friendship with Fran Lebowitz, Susan Sontag, his relationships with Paul Thek and David Wojnarowicz, and even his strained relation with Robert Mapplethorpe. The interview touches on the work Koch has done over the past twenty-five years, raising the late underground hero from self-imposed obscurity to widespread recognition.