|Men embracing and kissing. Gant, Robert, 1854?-1936|
This image isn't ambiguous at all. These men are straight up making out. Or are they?
As with many of the other images I've collected, their original sources were either not documented (does anyone believe in references anymore?) or obliterated by history.
I did a little investigation of this image entitled "Good Bye" to see what I might be able to find out. The story of this embrace was fairly easy to extract from the internet.
The image was taken by Robert Gant (1854-1936), a photographer from New Zealand. For those of you with a great deal of interest, you might consider checking out Chris Brickell's book "Manly Affections." Brickell wrote the following about his book (you can also check out a YouTube clip :
What if New Zealand's male settlers were not all as stoic and unemotional as we tend to assume? What if homoeroticism existed alongside - or even at the heart of - male society? What if the colonial social pattern actively facilitated intimate and sexual relationships between Pakeha men?
Manly Affections doesn't provide any clear answers, but it does explore the questions. It focuses on the life and photography of Robert Gant, who left us some 450 late nineteenth and early twentieth century images. Part biography, part cultural history, part visual analysis and part provocative speculation, this book project extends the analysis begun in Chapter One of Mates & Lovers. Along the way, I place homoeroticism within a broader discussion of masculinity and community life, and I discuss locally-circulating representations in their global context. The book will include approximately 150 images. While most histories of same-sex desire and intimacy explore urban lives, this project looks at small towns and rural locales: Gant spent much of his time in the Wairarapa settlements of Masterton and Greytown. In Gant's photographs, life on farms and in homesteads mingles with classicism, light bondage, romantic friendship and theatrical dress-ups. Gant and his enigmatic friends wove together Pakeha settler masculinity, emotion and eroticism in surprising and fascinating ways.
Take the time to watch this YouTube clip that the publisher of Brickell's book put together of Gant's images. You can also listen to a podcast about Robert Gant here.
FFor more images of vintage men and their relationships (some gay, some straight) visit: Two Men and Their Dog; Adam and Steve in the Garden of Eden: On Intimacy Between Men; A Man and His Dog; The Beasts of West Point; Vintage Men: Innocence Lost | The Photography of William Gedney; It's Only a Paper Moon;Vintage Gay America: Crawford Barton; These Men Are Not Gay | This Is Not A Farmer | Disfarmer; Desire and Difference: Hidden in Plain Sight, Come Make Eyes With Me Under the Anheuser Bush, Hugh Mangum: Itinerant Photographer, Two men, Two Poses; Photos are Not Always What They Seem,Vintage Sailors: An Awkward Realization, Three Men on a Horse, Welkom Bar: Vintage Same Sex Marriage, Pretty in Pink: Two Vintage Chinese Men, Memorial Day Surprise: Vintage Sailor Love, Memorial Day: Vintage Dancing Sailors, The Curious Case of Two Men Embracing, They'll Never Know How Close We Were, Vintage Love: Roger Miller Pegram,Manly Affections: Robert Gant, Homo Bride and Groom Restored to Dignity, The Men in the Trees, The Girl in the Outhouse, Tommy and Buzz: All My Love,Men in Photo Booths, and Invisible: Philadelphia Gay Wedding c. 1957. You can also follow me on Tumblr.