In Arts + Entertainment

Delve Into New York’s Fascinating Doorman Culture With ‘At Your Door’

Fine-art photographer Alina Gozin’a was 14 when her family migrated from the USSR to Australia. Her new photo series focuses on Eastern European migrants that make up New York's fascinating doorman culture.

New York fine-art photographer Alina Gozin’a debuts her first large-scale photographic exhibition At Your Door this month. No.1 Martin Place’s restore gallery space will host the world premiere, before Gozin’a takes the exhibition aboard.

Alina Gozin’a at your door doorman door men new york photographyFor the series, Gozin’a explored the New York’s doorman culture, profiling the ‘invisible men’ that act as guardians to the homes of Manhattan’s rich and famous.  The role is lightly touched on in Hollywood movies; the doorman acted as confidante, protector and concierge, with doorman-resident relationships spanning over decades, but they rarely take centre-stage.

Alina Gozin’a at your door doorman door men new york photographyGozin’a was 14 when her family migrated from Soviet Russia to Australia. Since then, her photograph career has taken over all over the world, her work hanging in our own National Portrait Gallery, in the pages of Vogue, GQ and Harpers Bazaar. Now living in New York, it was her own background as an immigrant that fuelled her interest in the city’s largely Eastern European doormen.

Alina Gozin’a at your door doorman door men new york photography“I am fascinated by the real cost of immigration. Most of these men had higher education professions in their native countries: they were doctors, engineers, and architects. Their histories did not surprise me, they are all too familiar,” says Gozin’a.

“My own family came to Australia when I was 14 years old from the then USSR. When ‘the wall’ came down, we were eager to leave Soviet Russia behind. But we had to give up our Russian citizenship and we were not allowed to take any belongings or savings. It was a price that would have far-reaching effects on my family for many years.”

Alina Gozin’a at your door doorman door men new york photographyIn At Your Door, Gozin’a deploys the same cinematic lighting that she would for celebrities, and shoots the men in and out of uniform. The cravat detailing added to their uniforms speakings to both the artist and subject’s Eastern European roots.

“I didn’t feel entitled at the time to talk to anyone about it: there are no visible scars, no wounds of war in my experiences, and yet the trauma is very present and long-lasting. I have been fortunate to find a positive way of expressing it through my photography. But not everyone is so lucky and these men have stories of great sacrifice that I wanted to share with the world,” says Gozin’a.

Following Sydney, At Your Door will tour New York, Los Angeles and Moscow, following in Gozin’a’s own footsteps. The Sydney exhibition will run from Nov 29 until Dec 16. Full details here.

(Lead and all images: Alina Gozin’a/At Your Door)


Published 24 November, 2017