PETER BERLIN aka BARON ARMIN HAGEN VON HOYNINGEN-HUENE was an iconic male sex symbol for 3 decades,in the 1960's, 70's and 80's. His self portrait photography graced the covers of gay magazines, and defined a look that re-imagined a new masculinity among gay men and an emerging gay male culture. He was an international presence in Berlin, Paris, Rome, New York, Fire Island, and his home of the last 45 years, San Francisco.
PETER BERLIN was self created. He imagined himself into something akin to a male version of a Russ Meyers bombshell. Tailoring his own clothes to accentuate an already naturally defined physique, every part of his anatomy became showcased. Cruising was his career, and with a background in photography Peter embarked on recording thousands of self portraits. Influenced perhaps by his distant relative and famed Hollywood photographer GEORGE VON HOYNINGEN-HUENE.
Peter became the photographer, stylist, fashion designer, model and printer. All of this fixed in film decades before the advent of today's quick and easy digital selfie. No one, other than his good friend ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE, photographed Peter. (other than the SFPD... see image above!).
He met ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE (before Robert was well known), and they had a life long friendship. Peter was the subject of 4 Portraits by Robert which are part of the ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE ARCHIVE at the GETTY Musuem in LA. Peter was also good friends with the late NY clothing designer KOOS VAN DEN AKKER.
PETER BERLIN was a formidable presence of the 1970's New York zeitgeist. He was often seen at Studio 54, Max's Kansas City, Christopher Street and it's piers, strolling the beach at Fire Island Pines, and other hotspots of the time. Peter's iconic presence and notoriety in New York stirred the attention of both the art and fashion worlds. Andy Warhol offered Peter his FACTORY as a place to create film and photos. Peter was more interested in being on the streets and cruising than networking, and never took Andy up on this offer. His influential style from the 70's continues to this day, as seen in the fashions of Jean Paul Gaultier and many others.
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Images © 1999 Peter Berlin All Rights Reserved