Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dear Friends

You know I believe in karma, right? That big law of cause and effect, the universal pay-back machine of sorts. I think sometimes karma has a role to play in teaching you to not get so darned attached to things. Case in point, and I've mentioned this before, I once saw a book in my local secondhand bookstore on my pet topic of vintage photos of men. Specifically a book of photos from 1840 to 1918, with unusually intimate depictions of affection between the sitters.





I was having a somewhat poor week at the time, so I didn't buy it but went back on pay day a few days later to get it. Gone, both copies. I'll say one thing about all the 'mos in my neighbourhood, they're fast. So I was really pissed that I missed getting a copy. Being a secondhand bookstore, I assumed that these were probably remaindered and out of print. This bookstore often carries fantastic gems which have been overlooked by the chainstore book buying public. I've looked for it a few times when I've gone into the same store, just in case they had some more copies, but nada.





Well because I have obviously been a very good boy, or maybe because I have kind and generous friends, I now have a copy! I rang my friend Judy on Saturday morning to see what she was up to, and she had been getting her phone out to call me at the exact same moment. She was in my neighbourhood and in the same bookstore, and found a book she thought I might like. As it turns out, the book in fact. I had sold a bunch of books to the same bookstore recently, so I even had a store credit voucher I could use, making the book essentially free. Score!

So I arranged to meet Judy and her husband John down the street for a coffee, and I would swing buy and grab the book with my voucher. They psyched me out though, because Judy had already bought me the book as a gift. Sweet!





So now I have my own copy of Dear Friends: American Photographs Of Men Together, 1840-1918 by David Deitcher. It was issued in paperback in March 2005, and this copy has a remaindered mark (a black marker stripe on the book edge) which would seem to indicate that it's sadly now out of print. It has an excellent collection of photographs in it, some quite startling in their intimacy. I've only just started reading it, but I think Deitcher doesn't just assume that these are gay couples (although some may be) but looks at the changing nature of male friendship and the publicly acceptable representations of it, the use of allegory and classical imagery in early photos etc. Should make for an interesting read, aside from all the pretty pictures!

[The pics above are from the book and Deitcher's website]

12 comments:

thombeau said...

YAY! Vintage men for a vintage man!

mrpeenee said...

I remember reading about this book when it came out and looking for it. Congratulations on snagging it.

Jodie Sorrell said...

It is indeed always nice to have friends.

John C said...

I was going to say that Abe.com is a great source of just about any book, especially those out of print. You have to be prepared to wait for mail order, however, and I'm frequently impatient about that. The Deitcher book looks great.

Last year I got two books from Abe that friends used to have which are long OOP, Philip Core's essential Camp: The Lie that Tells the Truth and a first edition of an old sex exposé volume from the Sixties entitled The Jewel in the Lotus: a Historical Survey of the Sexual Culture in the East by Allen Edwardes. The latter is hilarious (and rather racist in the way it discusses "the Orient"), full of outrageously blithe generalisations about how all Turks are sodomites, etc. Lots of great phrases abound with catamites having their fundaments futtered.

The Other Andrew said...

Who doesn't love a good fundament futtering, right? Ah, those cooky catamites!

Thombeau, I went to a 21st birthday party on the weekend which made me feel ANCIENT. So, 'vintage' I will accept but we're on thin ice right now.

Peen, thanks. It was quite the score, given that I thought I'd never see it again.

Jodie, it is indeed! :)

Ur-spo said...

such a sweet set of photos!

The Other Andrew said...

Aren't they! There's some real sweet ones in the book. It's become My New Preciousssssss.

John C said...

You just need some catamites to attend to your every futtering, er...whim, to dispel the antiquity.

jason said...

lovely!

nash said...

Greetings TOA, what a fantastic discovery. Thanks for posting about this book. I've gotta find a copy for myself...

The Other Andrew said...

Hey Nash, long time and all that! How you doing in Melbourne pet?

nash said...

Getting there! Crap internet doesn't help - I've missed you *sigh*