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September 28, 2021

Fabulous Images Documenting the Phenomenon of Voguing in New York’s House Ballrooms in the Late 1980s and Early 90s

Voguing came out of the extraordinary house ballroom scene that emerged in Harlem, New York in the 1980s where men competed against one another for their dancing skills, the realness of their drag and their ability to walk on a catwalk runway like a model. These wild years of voguing and the house ballroom scene are vividly captured at its height in hundreds of amazing, previously unpublished photographs.

In 1989, Malcolm McLaren had his only number one hit with a single called “Deep in Vogue.” Early the next year, Madonna had one of the biggest hits of her career, with the single “Vogue,” and when Jennie Livingston’s film Paris Is Burning arrived in cinemas the same year, winning the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, the mainstream got hip to New York City’s extraordinary ball culture, from which the film and McLaren and Madonna’s songs had arisen. Paris Is Burning documented a gay ballroom scene that emerged in Harlem in the mid-1980s, which drew African American and Latino gay and transgender communities to compete against one another for their dancing skills, the verisimilitude of their drag and their ability to walk on the runway.

French-born photographer and documentarist Chantal Regnault began documenting the house ballroom and voguing scene in the late 1980s, capturing it at its height between 1989-1992.
“1989-1992 was the peak of creativity and popularity for the ballroom scene, and when the mainstream attention faded away, the original black and Latino gay ballroom culture didn’t die. On the contrary, it became a national phenomena as Houses started to have “chapters” all over the big cities of the United States. But I was not a direct witness to most of it as I moved to Haiti in 1993.”
Chantal Regnault was born in France. She left Paris after the 1968 uprisings and lived in New York for the next 15 years. At the end of the 1980s she became immersed in Harlem’s voguing scene. Also around this time, Regnault developed an interest in Haitian voodoo culture and began to divide her time between Haiti and New York. Her widely published photographs have appeared in major magazines and newspapers, including Vanity Fair and the New York Times.

(Photos © by Chantal Regnault)


  1. Yeah. Fabulousssssssss...
    Got it.

  2. 80s and 90s? Yep, most of those sodomites are dead from AIDS.




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