NEW YORK, NY.-
In 1980, Patrick D. Pagnano photographed Brooklyns iconic roller skating venue Empire Rollerdrome and its legendary cast of partygoers. This astounding series of photographs, published for the first time in a monograph, captures the vibrant spirits, extraordinary styles, and sheer joys of Brooklyn roller disco at its dizzying peak.
Brooklyns Empire Rollerdrome opened in Crown Heights in 1941 and soon became the boroughs premier destination for recreational and competitive roller skating. But it wasnt until the late 1970s that the celebrated rink reached iconic status by replacing its organist with a live DJ, installing a state of the art sound and light system, and renaming itself after the nationwide dance craze it had helped to originate: the Empire Roller Disco was born.
"Empire Roller Disco, with its mélange of communities partying side by side, was the ultimate expression of this energy a place where rich and poor, Black and white, straight and gay found communion in the shared bliss of turns, spins, and dips." - Miss Rosen
Used to photographing street life and capturing important moments intuitively and quickly, Pagnano set forth to capture the sheer joy, talent, and energy of the scene.
I also use the environment or juxtapositions to enhance the narrative and reveal something of human nature or the ambiguity of the human condition. My goal is to capture what is the essence of their personality, often by very subtle body language or details in the way they choose to dress and present themselves.
Called one of the most versatile and adaptive street photographers in the genre's history, Patrick D. Pagnano moved to New York City from Chicago in 1974 and immersed himself in an art practice that would grow to include street work, portraiture, and documentary photography. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago, and numerous other institutions. He passed away in 2018.
Miss Rosen is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. Since launching her journalistic career as an art and nightclub critic for the Village Voice in 1997, she has gone on to publish work in magazines such as LUomo Vogue, Bust, Juxtapoz, and Paper as well as on websites including AnOther, Aperture, Dazed, Huck, and Vogue. She served as editor and creative director for powerHouse magazine, and was Marketing Director for powerHouse Books from 20002009. Rosen has contributed to numerous books and publications on photography and the arts, and has lectured at Columbia University, the International Center of Photography, and the School of Visual Arts.
is an independent book publisher based in Brooklyn, New York. An imprint of the record label Mexican Summer, Anthology is dedicated to uncovering and presenting new narratives via thoughtful, exceptionally designed publications in the fields of art, music, and pop culture history.