When thinking of the goth subculture, is it not the black and white photographs of Propaganda Magazine that come to mind? As the most successful subcultural magazine to date, which ran from 1982 to 2002, Propaganda often led goth and industrial fashion trends while its models stole the hearts of girls and boys around the world. But who was the mastermind behind this magazine? Who photographed these frail and beautiful androgynous creatures for us to drool over for eternity?
This would be none other than Fred H. Berger. With humble beginnings, Propaganda Magazine began from Berger’s own desire to be a part of the NYC hardcore scene in 1981. But after all the angry energy from the moshpits of the Peppermint Lounge, all it took was Bauhaus’ “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” to attach himself to the dark, romantic sound and look of post-punk. The photographs from NYC’s gritty street kids to the shots of post-punk and goth heavy hitters (Sisters of Mercy, Clan of Xymox, X-Mal Deutschland, to name a few) capture the mood of the city in the 1980s that few have been able to achieve. Before forging onto bigger things, such as moving to Los Angeles and becoming an internationally sold publication, Propaganda told a unique story of New York City’s underbelly.
Coming October 3rd, everything comes full circle. Berger will make a rare appearance at Brooklyn’s Morbid Anatomy Museum for a special Q and A with Oddities personality, Evan Michaelson,** who is hosting the evening. If you live in the area, this is your chance to ask Berger whatever your little gothy heart pleases! Afterwards, you can enjoy a melange of oldschool music, a photobooth and you can even purchase treasured and rare Propaganda merchandise! Tickets and more information can be found here and here.
In celebration of this event, I’ve collected a few iconic shots from Berger’s Propaganda portfolio (more can be found here). Click through to see the collection.
** Michaelson will be doing her own goth lecture the night before in conjunction to the event. Details here.
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