For my thesis, I curated a collection of photographs by archiving representations of male intimacy prior to the Gay Liberation Movement. Prior to the 1970’s, my culture was considered criminals resulting in the social fear of living an openly gay life. I believe our history has been denied prior to our political visibility of the 1970s. In this work, I am searching for a larger gay history to identify with prior to the Gay Liberation as documented by photography. As we were poorly documented in history, I care to believe my gay brothers have left clues of intimacy that hint at the cultural visibility in a time of passing as straight and surviving as gay.
This paper is an image study of the often-lost visual gay culture, primarily focused on men in the pre-stonewall period of American history. I will provide insight to the process of collecting these photographs and the questions that arise. The world as we know it through a history controlled by homophobic society did not include celebratory documentation of our existence throughout the world. Celebration is the key to my process with these photographs for they are echoing the unheard voices of the closet.