Make Love for the Camera

Last night we found ourselves in somewhat of a compromising position, sandwiched for a good fifteen minutes between two oversized nude photos in a tiny corner of the aptly-named Half Gallery. There for the New York debut of Purple co-founder Olivier Zahm‘s first exhibition, we surveyed the black and white shots, partially culled from his blog, Purple Diary. Our cheek juxtaposed with a wall that featured a different kind of cheek, we turned our head 90 degrees, only to take in another naked lady, face obscured and clearly post-coital. Making our way out of that special place, we found Michael Stipe, Johan Lindeberg, Glenn O’BrienAndre Balazs (the more S&M-y of the photos were clearly taken at The Standard), Sarah of Colette and Terry Richardson, many of whom were ushered to the back room, where Olivier remained sequestered for much of the evening.

Given the close proximity in which guests mingled in between air-bisous—to say nothing of the photographic subject matter—the vibe was intimate, old-school and very Parisian. In typical Gallic fashion, the set-up proceeded at a leisurely pace; we glimpsed Zahm himself tacking prints to the walls a half hour after the reception was slated to begin. Once things got underway and the wine began flowing, however, guests got chatty. “So, are you one of the models?” one guy asked us. Though ordinarily temped to give this sort of skeevy question the side-eye, we figured it was semi-plausible. Though Zahm admittedly enjoys shooting his famous friends, he also employs amateurs, like those featured in the show. Aspiring exhibitionists take note: Zahm also takes submissions on Purple Diary. Ladies, this could be you one day.

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