You are invited to my exhibition and book launch entitled
The existence of photography now going on two centuries has the historical breadth to record the advancements of mankind in that span of time.
Photographs have also recorded events that recur and are obstinate despite the progress seemingly achieved. War, famine, natural disasters are some of them.
And there are vintage photographs that record a social norm, fell out of favor, and now back in vogue. Men intimately posed a hundred years ago is one such set of images.
A Token of Our Friendship, Philippine Photos of Male Affection, First Half of the 20th Century is both a picture book and a photo exhibition to be shown at the Silver Lens Gallery on June 29, 2011, and curated by the author and photograph collector, John L. Silva.
The photographs on exhibit are chosen from the book and chronicle the beginnings of studio
photography, stiff and formal, copying that of painted portraits, incrementally moving to demure but evident affections. Faster shutter speeds, more efficient film processing, and portable box cameras made spontaneous or “stolen shots” possible, which included a greater display of friendship and camaraderie among male sitters both in or outside the studio. Inscriptions written on the back of the photograph, stilted and sentimental in the beginning, became more effusive and natural. By the macho 1950’s such restrained but affectionate poses were not acceptable until the sixties and seventies when gay liberation ended all restrictions on male love.
Original and reproductions of these images will be on sale and a portion of all book and photo sales will be donated to organizations promoting local HIV prevention.