While studying at the New School, New York, under the legendary Lisette Model Sunil Gupta would spend his weekends cruising on Christopher Street with his camera. It was the heady days after Stonewall and before AIDS when Gupta and his peers were young and busy creating a gay public space that hadn’t been seen before.
“I came to photography in the early 1970s. What was initially just a hobby quickly found a purpose in the fledgling gay liberation movement, documenting gay rights marches as well as the burgeoning gay scene. In retrospect these pictures have become both nostalgic and iconic for a very important moment in my personal history.” - Sunil Gupta
Born in New Delhi and now living in London, Sunil Gupta is an artist, writer and activist. He has a MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art, and is currently studying towards a doctorate at the University of Westminster. Gupta’s work has been seen in over 90 international solo and group exhibitions.
Christopher Street, 1976 was nominated for The Aperture Paris Photo book award, the Lucie Photo book Prize and Les Rencontres d'Arles book Award.
In the early 1980's, Sunil Gupta enrolled at the Royal College of Art in London, where he had access to colour negative processing facilities. He took to the streets of the capital in search of the centres gay London life around Earl’s Court, King’s Road, and the West End.
"I hoped to repeat my experience of Christopher Street in New York, except now in London and in colour. It wasn’t to be. Even what appeared to be a concentration of gay life was not dense enough to create its own public space, so I was getting either huge gaps between people or a crowd of very mixed people. I decided to abandon an exclusively gay subject and started concentrating on whatever caught my eye—migrants, people of colour, gay men, elderly people out and about on their own." — Sunil Gupta
This series recently resurfaced through Gupta’s process of archiving his past images, providing a catalogue of the Sloanes, New Romantic and pensioners who once roamed London's streets.