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Bill Bernstein’s Last Dance

Photo book commemorating the 1970s NYC disco scene

Mon 18th Oct, 2021

By Polly Gaillard in Recognition

Studio 54 Dancers ©Bill Bernstein

During the Covid lockdown, APA New York member Bill Bernstein decided to go through his archives of hundreds of Tri-x film rolls of the New York City club culture in the late 1970s when he was a freelancer for The Village Voice. Bernstein became fascinated by the diversity and freedom of expression demonstrated by clubbers in trendy discos like Studio 54, Paradise Garage, Mudd Club, and Empire Roller Disco. Many of his images were published by the press, in movies, or other books, but Bernstein decided it was time to take a deep dive, find new, never-before-seen photos, and self-publish a photo book. The book entitled, Last Dance is due to ship at the end of October 2021.

Studio 54 Couch ©Bill Bernstein

A fellow photographer recommended Bernstein try using the online printer After running some test samples, he felt the quality of the printing to be excellent and in addition to their expert customer service team. He explains, "Smaller runs (under 500) are done on an Indigo printer, and larger runs (over 500) are made on an offset printer; therefore, the per-unit cost drops considerably."

Xenon Henry Miller Contact Sheet ©Bill Bernstein

Bernstein's Last Dance is available on the e-commerce site Art Store Fronts. His promotional efforts include posts to Instagram and a MailChimp newsletter. Bernstein is pre-selling the book as well as approaching bookstores and other venues to stock the book. He has an assistant and an intern process fulfillment at a storage unit he rented. Bernstein claims, "I am quite proud of this book and love the freedom of creating and marketing this myself. I have had other books made of my work and always felt somewhat left out of the process, as well as much of the financial rewards."

Most photographers understand that photo books are more of a labor of love than moneymakers. However, Bernstein is determined to learn something new from this endeavor. He believes the publication will raise the profile of his archive from the 1970s and introduce people to his limited edition photographic prints that sells on his e-commerce site as well as select photography galleries worldwide.

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