Matthew Leifheit: To Die Alive



ISBN: 9788862087704 Category:


To Die Alive conjures a hedonistic fever dream of Fire Island’s historic gay communities. The book contains 77 photographs by New York artist Matthew Leifheit taken by night over the past five years. The pictures show a world of desire layered in history, including the Ice Palace bar’s infamous underwear party, the men-only Belvedere Guesthouse, clandestine encounters in the Meat Rack, and landscapes in all seasons of the island’s delicate maritime forest. The wide-ranging subjects of Leifheit’s portraits are the intergenerational community who come to the island for refuge or employment, ranging from sugar daddies to bartenders and sex workers. The series takes the form of a tragedy, combining many nights and many histories to form an endless night of sex, death, and evolution towards new definitions of queerness. As homosexuality gains mainstream acceptance, many queer Americans no longer need to go to geographic extremes like Fire Island, Provincetown, Palm Springs or Key West to express themselves. But what is the cost of assimilation? To Die Alive is both romantic and grotesque, challenging the sun-bleached history of homoerotic representation on this fragile island, which itself is under constant threat of erosion into the sea.

Additional information

Weight 996 g
Dimensions 23.1 x 30.8 cm
Publisher name Damiani Editore
Publication date 23 June 2022
Number of pages 160
Format Hardback
Contributors Text by Jeremy O. Harris and Jack Parlett
Dimensions 23.1 x 30.8 cm
Weight 996 g


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Matthew Leifheit is an American photographer, writer, magazine editor and professor based in New York. A graduate of the Yale School of Art, he was formerly the photography director of VICE and is currently on faculty at Pratt Institute. Leifheit's photographic work has been exhibited internationally and is held in public collections. His photographs have appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, Aperture, Time, and Artforum.