By JAMES SALOMON October, 2019
Several years ago I heard a guy at a cocktail party tell his circle “I spend most of my time between Manhattan and the Hamptons. I live in Huntington.” I suppose that’s good for a chuckle, if you are familiar with Long Island both geographically and demographically. Better if you actually do live in Huntington, but I think this guy was wisecracking. Looking back, I wish my pal Patrick McMullan were there, because he actually did grow up in Huntington, and would have a lot to contribute to the conversation.
But, as we know, Patrick contributes in immeasurable ways. I’ve known him for 20 years, always charming and affable with both the upstairs and downstairs folk, he is quite a marvel to watch. He’ll magically appear, pull up his lens, chit chat, you turn the other way and he’ll be across the room -- like a hummingbird, tapping into new flora, both feeding and pollinating at once. Life is a party for the life of the party.
I remember him telling me that back in the early 80s, Warhol looked at his big clunky camera and said “You’ll never get into Studio (54) with that thing. You’ll need something to put in your pocket.” The following day a messenger arrived at his apartment with an Olympus XA.
Since then, Patrick has built a successful business based on millions of candid and posed moments that have been captured and archived; the latest and greatest personalities in art, entertainment, fashion, and just about anyone who likes a good soirée. It’s not always smooth sailing. Every now and then a plate will get broken, people fight, the lights go out unexpectedly for a while, someone gets stuck in an elevator, but we all try to keep calm and carry on, hang on with our friends and try to have a laugh as we get through the night. Patrick is there as a witness and participant.
His talents bring us to the women that are celebrated and honored in his current exhibition entitled “Glamour, Grit, and Grace: Portraits of Iconic New York Women”, on view through December at Lafayette 148 New York Townhouse, 956 Madison @ 75th Street.
One of Patrick’s muses, Amy Sacco, is the embodiment of makin’ it in the Big Apple with glamour, grit, and grace. When I moved to New York in 1999, Amy had Lot 61, the hottest hotspot in town. Damien Hirst had a dot painting hanging as if just part of the décor at a time when Saatchi and YBA was all anyone could talk about. After that came Bungalow 8, also iconic, and other successful projects to keep the glamour set busy and entertained.
I caught up with Amy, who is now developing the first members only Aman Club for Aman Resorts at their NYC hotel and residences, slated to open Fall 2020. “Patrick is such a great photographer partially because of his genuineness and ability to make you feel comfortable. He can get your most flattering angles or make you get campy even in a formal setting.” She continues, “Everybody thinks that when I was getting started I already knew all these people -- truth is, Patrick introduced me to half of them along the way!”
Patrick’s photos will be auctioned to benefit Bring Change to Mind from December 3rd through the 17th, exclusively at Charitybuzz.com. Bring Change to Mind is co-founded by Glenn Close to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness. For more information on this important subject, please visit www.bringchange2mind.org .
I’ll let the pictures do the talking from here on in. WM