Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A Fine Romance

The following pics come from a cool site called ho.mo.bil.ia [some content NSFW], which sells vintage pics and queer memorabilia.







I love this sort of stuff! Who knows if these guys are lovers, friends fooling around, brothers or whatever, but they're sweet pics aren't they?

I kick myself now for not buying it, but I once saw a book in a secondhand shop which was all about depictions of intimate male friendship in Victorian photography. Like the first picture above. I only skimmed the book, but it seemed to infer that these pics were not necessarily romantic or sexual in nature, but something else. I like to hope that they were at least a little romantic.

The other candid amateur snaps are so sweet, and these sorts of pics of guys fooling around or smooching for the camera (sometimes even sans pants) seem to crop up every so often. The pics above are being sold as originals, with evidence of having been stuck in photo albums. Maybe from a brilliant holiday they had together, or in the garden of their first house. Who knows?

I like to think these guys are couples. It connects me to the past somehow, to all the gays and lesbians that have gone before. Laid the groundwork for the improvements in acceptance that we have today, done the hard yards, lived their lives and had fun. Especially had fun.

7 comments:

Quatrefoil said...

It's one of those weird things that define how we as a society construct the 'other'. If we had seen an old picture with a man and a woman in the same pose as your top photo most people would assume that they were husband and wife. I find it odd both that there needs to be a comment to the effect of 'they're not necessarily homosexual' and that we don't test our assumptions of heterosexuality.

thombeau said...

When it comes to pictures like these, I choose to believe that everyone's gay until proven otherwise. In fact, that's how I feel about people in general!

I've got some links you'll like, will get them to you eventually!

Subject change: I just saw that you're beloved TORCHWOOD is coming to the US of A, via BBC America. Unfortunately I don't have access to that, some other readers might. It starts September 8th.

The Other Andrew said...

'trefoil, I agree. I find these pics fascinating in the context of their time, times when homosexuality was much more taboo than now. Let's face it, two men who go into a photography studio to have an intimate pic taken together are not, and never have been, treated equally to a straight couple. Maybe today it would be just surprise, rather than shock or horror. Who can say?

I find the depictions of friendships in Victorian photogrtaphy interesting. They are much more like paintings, in that attempts at allegory and classical composition seem to crop up.

Thombeau, link me baby! Look, to be fair I wouldn't assume that people are gay, but I do assume most of the time that it doesn't matter. :)

thombeau said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thombeau said...

We're all sexual beings, and that is really as far as I care to categorize people. I was just being flippant, of course! (as usual!)

Men have been getting each other off for as long as they've been around. Whatever social structures come and go, there will always be affections (and more) between "two men of the same gender" (as Woody Allen would say!). Things that are labeled "taboo" continue to exist; those labels and values change over time, etc., etc.

It is most intriguing how things were handled in past eras. A study of the past---"gay history" in particular---really makes one appreciate the courage of those who refused to conform, and were true to themselves. Though there are different battles to be fought today, we can definitely be inspired by those who came before, whether they were on the forefront of a movement, or just two men who dared to share a moment.

To thine own self be true!

The Other Andrew said...

Word, sista!

jason said...

Very sweet indeed.
I saw a slide show of these sorts of photos once, somewhere....nicely done.
http://www.musicmisfit.com/affectionatemen/affectionate.html