In 1998 Nikos Economopoulos was in New York City for Magnum Photos’ Annual General Meeting. The Greek photographer, who had joined Magnum eight years earlier, had at that point been photographing the Balkan Peninsula extensively, focusing on the region’s ethnic, national, and religious fault lines as well as unifying cultural traits which he felt tied disparate-seeming peoples together. The event which he found himself witnessing during that summer visit to New York was however something new to him, “I had never before seen a gay parade. At that time it would never have happened in Greece, and it was impressive.”
New York’s first Pride March was held on June 28, 1970, to mark the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots which had followed a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village gay bar. The riots are widely considered to have been a focal point in coalescing community led activism in the fight for gay rights and liberation in America.
The photos Economopoulos took in 1998 were opportunistic, a straightforward reaction on his part to stumbling across something he saw as visually exciting. He stayed for a few hours, photographing the various marchers, floats, and spectators before returning to the AGM. “For me it was nothing organized – the photos just came from my curiosity and that moment.”