Photographer Peter Hujar

David Wojnarowicz Untitled (Peter Hujar) c. 1982

David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (Peter Hujar), c. 1982. Gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 in. Collection: David Wojnarowicz Papers, NYU Fales

Photographer Peter Hujar (1934 -1987) surrounded himself with artists, writers, musicians and performers in downtown New York in the 1970s and 80s—many of whom became subjects of his photographs.

David and Peter met in 1980. Peter encouraged David to become an artist and soon David looked to him as a mentor.

“I had one very powerful relationship with Peter Hujar,” David once explained. “He was somebody who I thought saw the world as I did….He was twenty years older. So his perspective was really interesting to me. And he taught me a lot of things. And he connected instantly to what I thought about the world myself. But beyond him I always felt like a stranger among people.”

Featured here is an interview David recorded with Peter. Their easy rapport and humor reveals itself as Peter finds himself cowed by the tape recorder in the room which just compels David to pull up a chair for the machine.  Peter’s reticence to talk about his own work is soon mitigated by David’s astute observations about its artistic value.

Excerpts of this interview appear courtesy of The David Wojnarowicz Papers in The Downtown Collection at NYU Fales Library.

Learn more about Peter Hujar’s work through The Peter Hujar Archive and The Morgan Library and Museum.