Friday, May 17, 2013

They'll Never Know How Close We Were

For more images of vintage men and their relationships (some gay, some straight) visit: Two Men and Their DogAdam and Steve in the Garden of Eden: On Intimacy Between MenA Man and His DogThe Beasts of West PointVintage Men: Innocence Lost | The Photography of William GedneyIt's Only a Paper Moon;Vintage Gay America: Crawford BartonThese Men Are Not Gay | This Is Not A Farmer | DisfarmerDesire and Difference: Hidden in Plain SightCome Make Eyes With Me Under the Anheuser BushHugh Mangum: Itinerant PhotographerTwo men, Two PosesPhotos are Not Always What They Seem,Vintage Sailors: An Awkward RealizationThree Men on a HorseWelkom Bar: Vintage Same Sex MarriagePretty in Pink: Two Vintage Chinese MenMemorial Day Surprise: Vintage Sailor LoveMemorial Day: Vintage Dancing SailorsThe Curious Case of Two Men EmbracingThey'll Never Know How Close We WereVintage Love: Roger Miller Pegram,Manly Affections: Robert GantHomo Bride and Groom Restored to DignityThe Men in the TreesThe Girl in the OuthouseTommy and Buzz: All My Love,Men in Photo Booths, and Invisible: Philadelphia Gay Wedding c. 1957. You can also follow me on Tumblr.


  1. What's the history of male intimacy like? I know post WWII American context like McCarthyism and the Stonewall riots. But I've never poked my nose before WWII. How about the roaring 20's?

    Your collection always reminds me Jason Lutes' "Berlin." It's a graphic novel set in Berlin on the verge of Nazi Germany. He depicts male and female intimacy as a part of Berlin everyday life along with workers, fascists, bourgeois, food, drug, Jazz, etc.

    1. Funny you should ask -- I'll have to blog about it.

      The short answer is that as gay and lesbian people have formed a movement and become more visible, intimacy between men has become judged as "gay" and thus pushed out of the mainstream. The vast majority of the images pre-WWII of men together are friends who are unburdened by modern homonegativity.

      The same has gone for countries in the Arab world. It wasn't so rare even 10 years ago to see men walking down the street holding hands. As the western world has become more available, and men have feared being labeled gay (horrors!), they've stopped holding hands.

      It's sad, really, how constricted friendship between men has become.