Making a Scene

Images of New Year's Eve

NEW YEAR’S EVE IS a dramatic setting for an image; the prospect of shedding the year gone by for a one anew gives way to hedonistic celebrations that are a worthy subject for a photographer. We take a look at some images of New Year scenes that cinematically capture the spirit of the season.

For Mario Testino, the fashion world comes with its own set of characters that read like a scene in a play in his series for British Vogue‘s Millenium issue in December 1999, with each figure posing idiosyncratically, the models appear as vixens and the designers as engaging jokers. These are a carefully crafted who’s who of the fashion world, drawing the general Vogue reader into the seemingly closed-off world of fashion and perpetuating the image of playfulness that fashion often has. Likewise, Robin Platz’s iconic photograph of Warhol, Jagger et al also shows a scene from New Year’s eve, albeit from 1979. This is a glamourous moment where otherwise poised celebrities appear offhand, revealing a relaxing of airs and graces. Carl de Keizer’s very different images of teens at a Millenium party in Edinburgh, Scotland present a similar undoing, with youthful limbs gesturing, and dishevelled clothing; here too, the subjects are seemingly unaware of the lens that captures them.

The New Year’s eve celebration persists as an engaging setting for a cinematic image, and a template that – like a scene in a play – presents a moment of indulgence, of relaxing of inhibitions between one year and the next.

‘Vogue’s Millenium Party’, Mario Testino for British Vogue, December 1999, C-type colour print, courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London.
Salvador Dali and Janet Daly, on New Year’s Eve, 1979 by Roxanne Lowit.
New Year’s Eve party at Studio 54, with Halston, Bianca Jagger, Jack Haley Jr., Liza Minnelli and Andy Warhol, 1979 by Robin Platzer.

From the Millenium party series, Edinburgh, Scotland, 2000 by Carl De Keyzer.