New York-based photographer David Armstrong, who had been suffering from liver cancer, has died at the age of 60, reports Vogue. Although the photographer’s primary subjects include tender portraits of young boys and men, Armstrong also released a book of land and cityscapes in 2002, entitled “All Day, Every Day.”
Armstrong entered the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston as a painting major, but later switched to photography after studying alongside Nan Goldin, the photographer he became friends with at the age of 14. He was awarded a B.F.A from Tufts University in 1988.
David rose to prominence with photos of the New York art and night life scene from the 1970s and ’80s and featured in an exhibition with his aforementioned friend Nan Goldin, in 1980 called “New York/New Wave” at MoMA PS1. Then In 1994, the Museum für Gestaltung Zurich and New York’s Matthew Marks Gallery presented a show of work by the two photographers, titled “Nan Goldin/David Armstrong: A Double Life.” Armstrong went on to work closely with Elizabeth Sussman on Goldin’s first retrospective, “I’ll Be Your Mirror”, at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, and was credited as a co-curator. Armstrong’s work is also housed in the Whitney museum’s permanent collection.
Armstrong’s work always walked the line between art and fashion, often using natural lighting to create soft focus, and intimate close-up portraits. The photographer also worked for high-end fashion designers such as Burberry and Alexander Wang. But he was best known for his sublime, sensual portraits of young men. The Massachusetts-born photographer’s created a document of unflinching yet tender images of the city’s downtown scene that were published in his 2012 book ‘Night & Day’. The work featured went on to influence later artists like Ryan McGinley.
Armstrong spoke to the New York times about never compromising his vision: “I do the editorials and don’t get the ad campaigns,” he told the publication “Brands don’t want any indication of emotion, particularly if it’s negative. They want something a bit more sanitised, and they’re not going to get it from me.”