Found 1 record | Page 1 of 1
on 03/02/2012 - 09:41 am
In 1998 I found myself at the Beaux-Arts Ball, an annual bash thrown by the art department at my university. It was the first time I ever saw two guys kiss, and I wish I had a picture. The two of them, backlit by the stage, with smoke and lights outlining their silhouette, was a very memorable moment for me. My horizon had just expanded, and I was thrown into a realm that I knew nothing about. In lies the essence of photography. Moments like these can change a generation. I didn’t actually get a picture, the image is simply burned in my brain. It was, however, a shot-worthy moment and for just a minute, I wished I was a photography major.
So how is gay portrayed through the eye of a camera? Who are the gay photographers who have blazed a path for their community? What are a few trends in the industry?
Civil Unions, for one.
Beautiful ceremonies of gay weddings, baptisms, family photos and gay models, all relatively new to the scene and popping up everywhere. One artist who shines in the field of gay weddings is Kira Marie from Kira Marie Photography http://kira-mariephoto.com/ “Weddings are for Everyone” is her philosophy. Kira-Marie Photography is based in Atlanta and available for international travel. Another company is Pink Portraits. http://pinkportraits.com/ They provide fun, relaxed, gay friendly Portrait, Studio, Commercial, and Civil Partnership Photography in London.
Networking Possibilities and Meet-up Groups.
Gay Photographers Network http://www.gayphotographersnetwork.co.uk/ is a group of gay photographers and their friends who meet on the last Wednesday of each month in central London to share ideas and knowledge about all things to do with photography. Brilliant! There should be more of these in the US.
The Intimacy Project: Lesbian Intimacy is a project by and for lesbian, bisexual and transgendered women. Dawn Hartman produces photographs of admiration of women who love women and her desire to replace taboo with beauty. Her vision is to portray females with a real perspective, not the depiction of over-sexed vixens that many lesbians are stereotyped with. Visit this project online at http://www.dawnhartmanphotography.com/lesbian-intimacy-project.html
Trends in fine art.
Gay photography is often thought of as erotic. But what about the areas of fine art? The LGBT community has broken the bounds of subculture and risen to the heights of mainstream.
Where can you get a look at a few of the breakthrough photo shoots? I was happy to find some really cool concepts online.
- A Separate Peace: http://lightbox.time.com/2011/10/20/a-separate-peace-a-gay-photographers-take-on-photographing-a-gay-friendly-school/#1 A Gay Photographer’s talk about photographing a Gay-Friendly School. His journey was filled with excitement and anxiety as students from the Milwaukee Alliance School, the only gay-friendly charter school in the U.S., stood in front of the camera.
- Spotlight on gay Asian guys - A hot, up-and-coming photography book and exhibition set to study what it means to be Asian, male and gay. This exhibit proves that ‘sexy comes in many colors.
- Glen Mitchell Photography - This Florida based, gay fine art photographer, Glen Mitchell, creates black and white portfolios of homoerotic, male nude, fetish, and portraits well toned, perfectly shaved male bodies. http://www.glenmitchell.com/#mi=1&pt=0&pi=73&p=-1&a=0&at=0
Tee Corinne Lesbian Artist (1943-2006) http://lesbianlife.about.com/od/artistswriterset1/p/TeeCorinne.htm Tee Corinne was a pioneer in the world of lesbian erotic art. She was also at the forefront of the battle against censorship. Her photos were cutting edge with a coloring book of female genetalia and images of real lesbian lovers. She photographed fat women, women with disabilities, diverse body types and all sizes.
What are some of the other names on the list of gay photographers? Mark I. Chester is a self-described gay radical sex photographer in San Francisco. George Daniell created striking black-and-white photographs of celebrities before he died in 2002. His work is just now being recognized as an important contribution to gay male photography. George Dureau is warmer and more involved, revealing compassion as well as desire. For a list of other gay photographers, visit http://www.glbtq.com/arts/photography_gay_post_stonewall,2.html
When did this art form start to gain acceptance? Stonewall was very influential in the upturn. Political and social breakthroughs allowed the niche to thrive. Photographs began to celebrate the gay culture with ads such as the Calvin Klein underwear shots in New York’s Times Square. This timeless image was directed towards gay men, but straight women everywhere rejoiced once the chiseled male form was in the public eye. Names like Al Baltrop, Pierre Molinier and Arthur Tress became common names in the community. There was an ambiguity between fine art, erotic images and pornography which gave gay photographers a freedom to be expressive.
Do you have to have a degree in photography to appreciate the nuances of gay portraits? Luckily, no. You can find almost 9 thousand gay and lesbian stock photos and images at FotoSearch.com (mostly clothed, loving couples). Interested in the history behind the industry? Man to Man: A History of Gay Photography depicts 500 shots of gay males from many different eras. http://www.amazon.com/Man-History-Gay-Photography-Male/dp/0865651868
And last but not least, we have breaking coverage of a gay marine kissing his boyfriend on homecoming. This recent internet sensation has gained a ton of attention since the “DADT” repeal late last year. Again, photos like this one speak to the public and raise awareness across the globe. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2012/02/homecoming-photo-of-gay-marine-kissing-boyfriend-goes-viral/?fwcc=1&fwcl=1&fwl&_ft_=qid.5714190450159757675:mf_story_key.1577063029745790793:filter.h_chr:interface.m_faceweb_iphone:c.m
What have I learned from this exploration? I have come to appreciate the art form of photography as its own language. It speaks to people and takes us places that we can only imagine. Since the digital revolution, I have taken nearly 26,000 pictures. But where was my camera in 1998? That image will have to live on in my mind.
This is Straighty Says, and I’ll shoot it to you straight!