AT YOUR DOOR: The Doormen of New York City marks the first large-scale photographic exhibition for New York-based Australian photographer Alina Gozin'a. Capturing a quintessential aspect of New York culture, the show takes the doormen of the city's grandest buildings — who guard a multiplicity of secrets but never share their own — and makes them the subject. In contrast to her usual portraits of movie stars and politicians, Gozin'a instead chose to "shine a light on these fascinating invisible characters who keep Manhattan turning".
The result is 13 large-scale El-Greco-inspired, painterly photographic portraits of 13 doormen, all immigrants from Eastern Europe. "I am fascinated by the real cost of immigration," explains Gozin'a, who herself immigrated to Australia from the then USSR aged 14. "These men have stories of great sacrifice that I wanted to share with the world."
Each doorman is captured first in his uniform, then in his own clothes, with the intent to strip away their professional façade and reveal them as real people with their own intricately complex lives. Very much Gozin'a's homage to her adopted city of New York, the show nevertheless asks whether the role of 'doorman' is a charming old-world tradition that should continue or an outdated relic of the privileged classes that alienates the man in uniform.
Image: Alina Gozin'a, 'Yuri', [cropped], image courtesy and copyright of the artist.