Five Questions for Jeremy Kost
Photographer Jeremy Kost, the party-world doyen famous for his Polaroid photos and collages, took us through his latest exhibition at 150 11th Ave. “I think that the whole show is about façade and the breaking down of façade,” he says. A theme that recalls Andy Warhol, whose Polaroids are interspersed throughout the exhibition, each one selected by Kost to echo one of his own pieces: Warhol’s Diana Ross next to Kost’s Beyonce, Warhol’s Mick Jagger next to Kost’s Lady Gaga, even a self-portrait of Warhol and a skull next to Kost’s skull-painted face.
W: When did you know Poloroid photography was going to be your signature?
Jeremy Kost: In 2004, I was in Pamela Anderson’s hotel room at The Four Seasons. And that night David [LaChapelle] sort of turned to me and said, “What you’re doing is really good, you should take this more seriously.” And I said, “Yea, alright, whatever,” and the rest just sort of evolved from there. I just brought my camera along everywhere.
How many shots would you say you take for one of your collages?
Every single frame goes into the piece, so there’s no waste. At four dollars a frame now…it’s insane…it’s totally insane…and the medium is basically running out. So every frame matters.
I Fucking Love You (Marriage Equality For All), 2011
“This was on the roof of the Ace Hotel. We shot it about two months before the gay marriage act passed in New York and it was just something I’d always had in my head, the idea of two drag queens getting married. So Jordan [Fox] reprised the bridesmaids and she gets boozier as she goes, and Veruca reprised the groomsmen.”
What do you think people like about Polaroids?
For me it’s sort of the color and the saturation and the softness. That’s what makes me crazy about it. You can’t get those colors in digital. You just can’t. I mean, you can retouch all you want but some of the colors of the sky and the way the sun catches someone and casts that glow, it’s just un-replicable.
How many cameras do you own?
Maybe 16. They die. The gears break out after shooting so many of them. There’s one model I sort of use all the time, as soon as I see one available on eBay or something, I just buy it. It’s an Image 1200. It was the last one that they made so it’s the most advanced.
“One of the drag queens in the show who I have shot with a number of times painted my face in skull makeup for my 34th birthday party. I’d never done anything like that so I just sort of did it. You become somebody totally different. This is a self-portrait with [me holding out] the camera. We did them at the end of the night. I was super shitfaced.”
What are you going to do when the film does run out?
Well I think that’s one of the reasons I showed the new paintings because it shows I’m thinking about things outside of the collage work. Originally I was showing photographs, prints, but I really liked the idea of showing this unique object, so I’ve really veered away from photographs. I also don’t shoot in nightlife anymore. Period.
Jeremy Kost’s solo show titled Of An Instance is on display through May 31 and is presented by Hugo Boss and The Andy Warhol Museum.
Portrait: Michael Flores