RESEARCH NOTES ON PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE COLLECTION AT THE KINSEY INSTITUTE, BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA

 
 
 

RESEARCH NOTES ON MALE HOMOSEXUAL PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE COLLECTION AT THE KINSEY INSTITUTE, BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA.

 

Image No. 54106-7. M. Koch - O.Reith. 'Der Act'. Acquired 1946.

Early (1880-1910?) male nude photographs used as models for other artists. 2 older males together supporting the pediment of a Roman column, themselves taking the place of the column. In Image No. 54107 they have their arms around each other. Just natural male bodies, smooth, moustaches, uncut.

Image No. 54112. Anonymous photographer. n.d. Acquired Chicago Police Dept. 05/1961.

VERY RARE location shot of male nudes at baths(?) White nude male laying down, with black man doing handstand on his shins, back to the viewer. In the background is another nude black man, partially visible. Hanging up on pegs behind him are 5 singlets and 1 pair of underwear. Small photograph 2" wide by 4" high. Significant in that the photograph appears to be at the baths, shows interracial nudity and M/M contact. One of the most significant photographs in the whole collection in my opinion.

 

The sexologists of the era did not collect photographs of gay men and their bodies in public social contexts, preferring instead to concentrate on photographs of m2m bodies engaged in sexual acts at home or physique photographs taken in the studio which generally do not have any context in relationship to the outside world. I understand they did not have much of a choice in the material offered them but are there, for example, any photographs of gay men in the park, at the beach lying next too each other? In contemporary research we would embed such photographs within broader situational contexts and theoretical analyses.

 

Image No. 543-280. Frontier Club, San Diego, California.
** Mr. America - Plus ** Frontier #11. Catalogues and ads, December 1967.

Image No. 543-281. Frontier Club, San Diego, California.
** Mr. America - Plus ** Frontier #5. Catalogues and ads, December 1967.

Proof sheet photographs cut up and taped down onto card and then rephotographed. #11 features a solo young man, naked except boots and hat, posing with whip. #5 features natural boys in shorts, shirts, wrestling, one punching the other's stomach, holding each other just wearing underwear. Really cute, natural bodies and photographs. Some posing by photographer. Lighting obviously just by table lamps or lights, very amateur, but all the more intriguing and interesting for that.

Image No. 55201. Anonymous. n.d. Acquired Edina Minneapolis Police Dept., 01/1962.

Small photograph 2" wide x 3" high. Interior. Male nude with hips thrust to one side, right leg splayed outwards, smooth, uncut, holding cane in left hand and top hat on his head at a rakish angle with right hand. Backdrop probably a Japanese fabric of bamboo canes. Very effeminate photograph of a young nude man in a bedroom possibly (?) - very personal.

Image No. 55202. Anonymous. n.d. Acquired Chicago Police Dept., 05/1961.

Nude man in gaiters (1920's -1940s?), uncut, watch on left hand, drinking from small silver cup which hides mouth. Right hand holds half smoked cigarette. Body has no shape about it at all- really strange. In the background is a standard lamp, skirting board and striped wallpaper. Flash or lamp lit. Personal/private photograph.

Image No. 55203. Anonymous. n.d. Acquired Chicago Police Dept., 05/1961.

Young man, nude, uncut, flattened against interior wall covered with Arabic scene of horses, men and tigers above skirting board and wooden floor. Possibly 1930s. He has a tattoo on right forearm and the most amazing tan line from wearing shorts and singlet. His body has no shape to it at all, he has thin arms and is about 20-22 years old. Really unusual to see such a tan line, possibly from a bathing suit. Noting the background I would say the photograph positions the man in the upper classes, and the image is interesting for the social contextualisation of the male body.

Image No. 55259. Anonymous. n.d. Acquired Chicago 1940.

Photograph one and a half inches square of male nude approx. 25-28 years old, smoking a cigarette, in slip on shoes, standing in front of what looks like army tents with trestle tables inside them. Body is natural, no real shape, smooth, man is smiling.

Image No. 55260. Anonymous. n.d. Acquired Chicago Police Dept., 05/1961. 385971.

Male nude with dark hair, three quarters side profile standing in lounge room. Very Diane Arbus. Table lamp with big shade and 2 tiered side table. Vinyl chair behind. Print on wall is nearly completely hidden, curtain to top right hand side with wood grain wall as well. Flash was used as heavy shadow of man outline falls on the wall behind. Body is smooth, hunky but not a bodybuilder. Cut dick. Hands by side. Nice face, smiling, looking at camera.

 

Beautiful man, serene, calm, relaxed in his own body - one of the best photographs. Really like this photograph as the man is comfortable in showing off his body in front of the camera yet not really posing or puffing himself up. He and his body are aware but relaxed and just so.

 

Image No. 55042. Anonymous. n.d. Acquired O.W. 05/1954.

Small photograph 2" wide x 3" high of young nude man sitting in car facing out of the open passenger side door with his trousers down below his knees. Left hand is resting on knee and the right hand is pinned against the seat by the weight of his own body. Uncut dick. Curly dark hair, eyes closed. Car has stick shift left hand drive (American) probably early 1950s. Body is smooth, boyish and young man is about 17-19 years old.

 

Just before or after sex? Intimacy? Photograph positions the body in an era and specific situation. Was he about to be sucked off? Was he being forced into pulling his pants down and being photographed? I don't think so from the closed eyes and position of the body within the car. Lover is the photographer?

 

Image No. 55087. Anonymous. n.d. Acquired McG. NYC 1946.

Photograph approx. 7" wide by 5" high. Smooth young man, about 18, eyes closed, wavy hair, leaning back on one hand on sandy beach. Right hand leg rests on lower of 2 wooden steps. Right hand rests on knee of right leg. Cut dick. Smiling. Lake in background with 3 sailing boats on it, one with sail up and 2 people in it. Pair of shoes sits on second step.

 

Beautiful photograph - intimacy, again possibly a lover has taken this photo, and it has some context to it - shoreline and people sailing boats in the background, steps leading to holiday shack? Young man is beautiful, happy and at ease in his surroundings, his company and in his own body.

 

Image No. 54768-54779. Anonymous. n.d. Figure Set 41. 1960s(?)

All photographs 3" wide x 4" high. 2 nude men, about 25-30 years old, in bedroom, mirror on front of wardrobe, flowers in vase on dressing table, bed, flower patterned wallpaper, window behind dressing table. One man is hairy and cut, the other smooth and uncut. They are using a measuring tape (in inches) to measure each others necks, arms, chests, waists and calves in this series of photographs. Both men are smiling at each other and at other people off camera and are totally unaffected by the cameras presence in one respect whilst posing for it in another. Flash used. In some of the photographs the smooth man has his hand on the others head (for balance?) No, probably lovers.

 

Great series of photographs, very natural using built bodies in a bedroom setting (their own?), measuring and showing off the results of their bodybuilding. The images are quite a laugh and they are obviously comfortable and having a good time too! Much less formal than the usual physique photograph and show an intimacy between the two models, plus a context for that intimacy, the bedroom.

 

Image No. 41601. Anonymous. 1935+-. Acquired 1948.
Annotation: Swedish boy named Gustav(?)

Young man in trousers, white shirt, hair parted down middle, holds a Gladstone bag. He is smiling. House in background with women pulling kid along which is blurred in middle distance. Slim, natural body especially arms.

Image No. 41602. Anonymous. 1935+-. Acquired 1948.
Annotation: Took him to baths in Germany.

Same young man as above now in a one piece bathing suit, hair wet, slicked back. slim, beautiful boy. He is sitting on sand. People lying on beach in background including another boy who is out of focus.

Image No. 41602. Anonymous. 1935+-. Acquired 1948.
Annotation: Met in Navarin Masquerade, 1932.

Same young man lying on towel on beach, Gladstone bag behind him. Very smooth young man, very Horst P. Horst model. Wearing a one piece bathing suit pulled down to his waist.

 

Good set of 3 photographs because it shows this young gay man in a variety of different settings posing for the photographer who he obviously knows from the annotations. Relaxed in his body and his surroundings. Perhaps they are on holiday together?

 

Image No. 41607/41610. Anonymous. c.1946. San Francisco. Acquired 1958.

4 guys in various uniforms, table in front of them filled with alcohol. Hands on each others crutches. Second photograph has friends with Navy coats on coming in door. Like stills from a film?

Image No. 41612. 'Ray Baker'. c.1946. Acquired 1950.
Annotation: Donny 16-17 years. Bob 25 years.

Donny seated, nude, socks on, reading a bit of paper. Bob, standing, hand on Donny's inner thigh, bent over reading bit of paper as well. Donny is very slim ephebe, beautiful, smooth. Bob is older, hairy chest. Look like a married couple. Very good image.

Image No. 41614. Set of CK. 1950s. Acquired 1953.

2 young men nude in shower, back shot with bums.

Image No. 41615. Set of CK. 1950s. Acquired 1953.

Same young men, frontal shots in shower, very smooth, not built bodies.

Image No. 44224. Anonymous. 1928-35. Acquired 1961.

2 men sitting on a couch, naked, one with arms crossed looking into camera, smiling, tapestry on wall behind. Older men - 30s? Not young men which is unusual in these M/M photographs. They sit side by side, feet touching, knees touching. Everyday bodies. Good for its openness and body-images.

Image No. 44228. Anonymous. 1935+. Acquired 1947.

Beautiful image. 2 slim young men, one seated, one standing by a pond.

Image No. 44263. Anonymous. 1940s?

Good photograph of 2 older men, hairy, naked, with their arms around each other. No erections. Smiling at camera.

Image No. 44426. Anonymous. n.d. 1950s?

2 young men in bathing trunks, standing, hugging each other on a beach, sea behind. Very good photograph.

Image No. 44526/44532. Anonymous. n.d. 1960s?

2 nude young men, one with arm around others shoulder with the guy on left looking warily at the camera. Natural bodies. Small 2" square print. Image No. 44532 has them seated, laughing and is a much better photograph, less self conscious.