Jimmy De Sana
Jimmy De Sana
Jimmy was a quiet, elusive character who never signed his name the same way twice and claimed to have been born in 1949, 1950, and 1951. James, Jimmy, Jim De Sana, De Sana intimidated many people with his dark, quiet presence. But once he was your friend he was loyal and loving, a chatty southern gentleman. Although he wished to constantly reinvent himself, his work was always on a steady course, from the sex pictures he started taking in the late 1960s to the portraits of Debbie Harry, Billy Idol, and Talking Heads-which set the style for the way the punk music scene was photographed-to his ongoing study of the eccentricities and perversions of "normal" American suburban life. I'll remember him always for our yearly outings to Coney Island and for teaching me how to have a camera in my life.
Laurie Simmons, Artist
Jimmy De Sana began photographing sexual subjects when he was in his teens, influenced by the writing of William Burroughs. The hallmark of his raw but stylized work was the unexpected or mysterious twist, the odd or humorous juxtaposition. Born in Detroit, De Sana grew up in Atlanta and attended the University of Georgia. His first book of photographs, entitled Submission, was published in 1980. He shot editorial pictures for various publications and exhibited in New York and Europe from 1978 until his death in 1990.