The Pines, a mile-long slice on a 36-mile-long barrier island east of Manhattan along the Long Island coast, was a sanctuary for up to 10,000 gay men during weekends. Bianchi, a lawyer turned painter turned photographer, spent weekends there with his SX-70 Polaroid camera documenting that jovial environment that allowed many men their first opportunity to walk openly with a romantic partner.
Bianchi’s motivation for publishing the photographs harks back to that feeling of freedom. “I didn’t want another kid to grow up in this culture not knowing there was a place for them in the sun,” he said.
Having the physical Polaroid prints helped him gain trust and capture moments of intimacy. He would lay prints out on a table at parties so it was clear what type of photographs he was taking. “They could see how cool life looked from my eyes, that I was looking for beauty. It [the project] was possible because we all knew what it was about — our love for each other.”
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