We are in 2012, and this is Asap Rocky at the Social Club

Pretty Flacko is in Paris for his first live show in France, and well, he just signed a big contract with Sony, the perfect timing for a wild celebration in the French way, with all that money flowing. Everyone is here, including Ferg, Yams, and all the Mob friends from New York. We had a photoshoot with Julot Bandit in the afternoon for WAD Magazine, the best moment to relax and share some seriously potent weed blunts with the boys before the big event.

These are my last memories of the Social Club as I knew it – packed, fucking hot, utterly insane, and deafeningly loud. The backstage is filled with tough-looking characters and Dom Pérignon bottles. Somehow, I’m the only one allowed to have a camera in that dirty, small room.

Now, imagine A$AP Rocky in a club with only 700 people, no more. That image sums up the entire day and night with the crew. In the middle of the concert, Rocky leaped into the crowd, and I found myself on stage with him and Ferg. I can’t explain how it happened, but i managed to snap just one picture of that moment, without even glancing inside the camera, and the incredible energy of that night did the rest.

We are in 2014, and this is Laura and Anna Polina at the Pink Paradise

I’ve been to strip clubs three or four times in my life. There isn’t a strong culture of it in Paris and they are quite strict about cameras. However, some friends and I are in contact with an eccentric PR girl, and she invites us to the reopening of a place that used to be owned by David and Cathy Guetta.

I enter the club with my camera, and it seems to be tolerated tonight, well… somehow, but I decide to take my chances. Champagne is flowing, and it feels like being in a hip-hop music video with weird characters and artificial enhancements all around – make it rain!

Suddenly, I receive a text from Anna, asking me about my plans for tonight. At the same time, Laura, one of the first unexpected models from The Night Day, appears in front of me like magic. I really enjoy the good timing of the situation and an hour later, I find myself as the only guy hanging out with two girls, and I’m not paying for their company.

As the night ends, just before leaving the club, we notice a small entrance unwatched. We decide to sneak into the private dance area, even though it’s strictly off-limits. No one is there, so we immediately start a private photo shoot in a matter of seconds. The girls are having fun inside, and I’m trying to find the best angle in this really tiny space. Laura is jumping on the couch, getting undressed, and Anna begins pole dancing. However, our fun is shutdown like thirty seconds later by an old grumpy lady, hearing our laughter and here she comes over to scold us, as if we were misbehaving five-year-olds – a brief moment of regression in our otherwise “not really” grown-up lives.

We are in 2006, and this is my very first nightlife picture

I don’t know Sylvie Chateigner yet, but my friend Amnaye Nhas invites me to Supernature at Le Maxim’s. He says, “Bring your camera,” and he’s persuasive enough to convince Sylvie to let me in with it. She doesn’t usually allow photographers at her parties, and she’s right. She wants complete freedom for the people who attend, where you can do whatever you want without shame, now or later.

I find myself here, completely captivated by this crowd, a perfect blend of genders and styles, something I have never truly witnessed before. François Buot is the guardian of this incredible procession within one of Paris’s most beautiful venues, and Andre serves as the musical priest.

At first, I am terribly shy and feel completely blocked. It’s sweltering, and I hardly know anyone. People are growing increasingly excited, the music is fantastic, and I definitely need a drink to shut down this anxiety.

I don’t recall exactly how it happens, but Christine is there with some friends. I am fascinated, and she looks at me in a way like: “It’s all right, you can take photos of me.” It happens in a matter of seconds.

So, taking up my courage, I dive headfirst into it. Without a word, I simply follow her lead. She begins putting on a private show for me and everyone else. She climbs the four stairs of the DJ booth, mostly floats around, and even leans against the wall to push herself up, while looking at me. That’s it—the moment that marks the beginning of something incredible in my life, the very inception of The Night Day, and, in a way, the commencement of my career as a photographer.

We are in 2011, and she is La Bordelaise, Chez Castel

I despise Halloween, and I’m not in the mood to go out, but two of my friends tell me about a party I haven’t heard of yet: La Club Sandwich, happening tonight. It’s a gay and queer party, where all genders are welcome, as long as you’re there to party and be what the fuck you want to be. That’s the lesson I learn that night.

The venue is Chez Castel, one of the oldest and most exclusive clubs in Paris. I daydream about this club because, in reality, I can never get in. It’s for the rich and famous, prohibits cameras, and is a members-only establishment. I’m just an outsider, plain and simple.

I put on my usual all-black outfit, with an extra luchador mask. Friends are already inside. The queue is packed, but with people from another universe, dressed up or not, with makeup everywhere.

Finally, I’m at the door, and in a magical moment, the woman who usually blocks my entry doesn’t recognize me with the mask on! I manage to get one foot in, but another doorman spots my camera and says, “Okay, you can come in, but you have to check your camera at the cloakroom.” I try for 30 seconds to explain that I’m a photographer with a project blablbla, but no luck. I surrender my camera to the girl and start descending the stairs to the dancefloor, irritated yet excited, I’m finally inside.

The feeling I experience at this moment is incredibly intense. Imagine a club filled with 2-meter-tall creatures dancing in high heels with bizarre Halloween-inspired outfits. I’m surrounded by hundreds of queers, transsexuals, lesbians, it’s impossible to pinpoint a specific gender. It’s truly amazing.

I’m utterly and happily stunned by where I find myself, but oh no, my camera! For a few minutes or maybe hours, I try to capture the moment with my 2011 iPhone, probably a 3G, and it’s not good. The flash is terrible, and I’m missing out on all the perfect shots right in front of me. So, I rush to the cloakroom, totally drunk, and the cloakroom girl is there. I charm her with my story and some cute and terrible vodka jokes, and miraculously it works that night, just enough to retrieve my camera, hidding it from the doorman inside, and rush back to the dancefloor.

At that point, people are beginning to have sex on the dancefloor. Everything is dark and steamy, the music is fantastic and deafening. It’s a pure moment of euphoria, and I’m here, capturing everything I can before it’s all over. At around 6 in the morning, I suddenly stop in front of an astonishing figure I can barely see, and I just point and shoot. Years later, someone tells me her name: La Bordelaise.