Tyrell Hampton Takes the Party With Him

Star photographer Tyrell Hampton recreates the feeling of being at a fabulous party for his first solo show.

12/6/2021 11:00:00 PM

Star photographer Tyrell Hampton recreates the feeling of being at a fabulous party for his first solo show.

The photographer, known for his candid party shots of Kaia Gerber, Miley Cyrus and his model friends, discusses his first solo show.

11.22.21“Studio 54 is one of my favorite places in the whole world,” the photographer Tyrell Hampton says. “If I could die and go back there, I would in a second.”If this comment leads you to assume that Hampton was present for the club’s heyday in the 1970s, tearing it up on the dance floor with Grace Jones and Liza Minnelli, snapping photographs of Cher and Elton John, don’t be confused—Hampton, a Philadelphia native now based in New York City, is 24 years old. But despite his tender age, Hampton is one of the most in-demand photographers right now. Known for his candid party photos—which depict the likes of Kaia Gerber mid-dinner or Miley Cyrus smoking a cigarette at a Met Gala after party—Hampton’s notable work also includes portraits of his friends, including the models Selena Forrest and Mona Tougaard. He captures them all in a natural, frank, and human way.

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Jesper Lund 11.22.21 “Studio 54 is one of my favorite places in the whole world,” the photographer Tyrell Hampton says. “If I could die and go back there, I would in a second.” If this comment leads you to assume that Hampton was present for the club’s heyday in the 1970s, tearing it up on the dance floor with Grace Jones and Liza Minnelli, snapping photographs of Cher and Elton John, don’t be confused—Hampton, a Philadelphia native now based in New York City, is 24 years old. But despite his tender age, Hampton is one of the most in-demand photographers right now. Known for his candid party photos—which depict the likes of Kaia Gerber mid-dinner or Miley Cyrus smoking a cigarette at a Met Gala after party—Hampton’s notable work also includes portraits of his friends, including the models Selena Forrest and Mona Tougaard. He captures them all in a natural, frank, and human way. Hampton’s work examines the freedom people feel in safe spaces, and the power nostalgia can hold, especially when it comes to party memories. This notion is the essence of Hampton’s first solo show, titled Go Home, which is now on view at the newly opened not-for-profit space SN37 Gallery in Manhattan’s South Street Seaport. SN37 Gallery celebrated its opening with Hampton’s debut exhibition on November 19, showing off the photographer’s selection of mostly black-and-white images, some of which have been blown up to larger-than-life proportions, while other photographs in the show are organized in clusters based on theme (one wall is comprised completely of pictures of people making out). Via Zoom from his Brooklyn apartment a few days prior to the opening, Hampton tells me how he dove into his archive to choose a selection of images that evoke the feeling of being at a party with the photographer as he winds his way through its guests. “The way we formed the show was to have you walk through the space, demonstrating these moments that I look for in a party,” he says. “I like to think I live vicariously through all the people I photograph. And each photo is like one piece of a puzzle that makes the whole party.” Although his images certainly have the candid look and feeling of mid-aughts party photography, Hampton says his influences skew less toward Cobrasnake and more toward Juergen Teller and Mario Sorrenti—both of whom have captured celebrities in their own vulnerable states, whether unadorned and hyper-realistic (Teller) or simply nude (Sorrenti). “That’s how I look for images,” Hampton says. “I think about how people go into these spaces and they’re just free. I’m always thinking about being liberated.” As a teenager, Hampton dreamed of moving to New York to launch a successful career, basing his idea of the city on pop culture tentpoles of the aughts like Sex and the City