A Photographic History ...

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by samstevens, Dec 28, 2020.

  1. ... Of Men In Love (1850s-1950s)

    ESQUIRE ARTICLE

    When snapshots become everyone's and transform into a significant documentary. When the past holds a key to the future. When secrets can finally be told.
     
  2. Having done what I call "documentary portraits" or spontaneous, snapshot portraits for over 50 years now, I feel that this often captures something you might not get in a planned, "studio" type portrait. The authors had a great idea and created an important book!
     
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  3. Interestingly, among the shots they collected were many studio portraits. Though I, too, don't take studio portraits and prefer more natural settings for my people photos, I appreciate especially some of these older and historical studio portraits both for the dress and for the ways in which deliberate poses and expressions can give insights into relationships. The story told in the article about the clever couple who chose to hold up the sign, usually used by single men looking for a woman, that reads "Not Married But Willing To Be" not only was sly on their part but turned out, in hindsight, to be more fortuitous than probably they even imagined. There are many such cases where I think deliberateness pays off.
     
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  4. Very interesting. One of the shots (to me) suggests brothers, so not necessarily gay men, but they can still love each other of course.
     
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  5. SO cool. Love this sort of photography, just shots of people. These are extraordinary, for the historical context and more. Really enjoyed seeing them.
     
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  6. I had seen this. It's an interesting book. A few of the images probably have been misread, and not all physical closeness is "love", but people have been people for a very long time.

    The main thing that is new about this is that the "popular" opinion of the majority of the people has changed.
     
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  7. Possibly so. But, thinking in terms of "misreading" might just be an academic distraction here. I think folks "misread" photos when they're hunting for accuracy, which often obscures deeper emotional truth.

    Anyway, I don't think a few "exceptions" have much effect on the meaning and feeling of the whole.
    While that's true, I tend to think about what's new from the inside, so I'd say the freedom and liberty to love out loud is significantly new as well. This book seems dedicated to a minority, not a majority.
     
  8. Hmmm...???

    What's on your mind?
     
  9. One of the things that really hit me in the gut was thinking that, when I was a kid, there actually were images like this out there though they were mostly hidden. Growing up, there were so few gay role models or gay histories of everyday men and women being told or shown. Kids not seeing themselves positively reflected in imagery leaves a distinct emptiness. And that goes for many kids. It gives me a little bit of a retrospective glow to see these loving couples, knowing that they were there after all.
     
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  10. well, I am an academic, after all is said and done.
     
  11. You can find similar photos by Disfarmer.
     
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  12. Now I’m getting a hint, though still not a complete thought. I appreciate the reference to Disfarmer and believe I see the similarity you talk about. Question is, was I supposed to get “Disfarmer is similar” from your Hmmm or was the Hmmm a more attitudinal expression, which is still unexplained?

    In any case, looking through the “everyday” pics of Disfarmer, the “similarities” also help highlight the differences.

    The nuances of body language, facial expression, and accoutrements seem to suggest different types of relationships and, perhaps even more importantly, the context and the pictures themselves, due to many of those subtleties, invite a very different emotional response from me as a viewer.

    The differences in visual cues between friendship and camaraderie in so many instances on the one hand and somewhat suppressed love on the other are illuminating. For that, I thank you for bringing Disfarmer into the conversation.
     
  13. Sam, I never imagined I would see images like these. They represent everything that took the US so long to approve gay marriages. Every one tells what otherwise was a sad story, and are poignant and sensitive. For other gay men who participate in PN and for yourself, and for gay men everywhere, the OP is not only a reminder of sad history but also of a potentially hopeful future. Happy New Year! - - My best always, michael
     
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