Dear friends: American photographs of men together, 1840-1918
This groundbreaking book presents rarely seen photographs that provide an entirely fresh perspective on male friendship in the 19th century. The poignant images in more than 100 early photographs, drawn from public and private collections, suggest a surprisingly broad-minded attitude toward physical intimacy between men, challenging the conventional view of the Victorian era as more inhibited than our own. Deitcher's provocative text -- combining history, social observation, pictorial analysis, and personal reflection -- explores the nature of that same-sex affection and the meaning such pictures can hold for us today.
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Dear friends: American photographs of men together, 1840-1918User Review - Book Verdict
At first glance, this appears to be a simple collection of quaint images daguerreotypes, tintypes, and so forth that derive a certain charm from the convivial young men they picture. More than 100 images feature pairings, or occasionally small groups, engaged in what to 21st-century eyes are surprisingly demonstrative though never unseemly poses. In one, a dapper Victorian gentleman, cigar in hand, casually sits on the lap of another man with pipe in mouth, both looking as if it is the most natural thing in the world. What makes this book so much more than a coffee-table curiosity is Deitcher's 50-page essay. The art historian and critic deftly intermingles scholarly research on 19th-century same-sex friendship with his own personal reactions to the photos as a gay man and model pictorial analysis: he consistently picks out the salient details for rigorously accurate description, then moves on to the ambiguities of interpretation. The pictures compel readers to speculate on the ultimately unknowable mindset of these mostly anonymous sitters. Deitcher's essay turns these thoughts into a dialog on the nature of viewing, posing, desire, and photography itself. Eric Bryant, "Library Journal" ...
Review: Dear Friends: American Photographs of Men Together, 1840-1918User Review - todd - Goodreads
More books like this need to be published. Hybrid of cultural scholarship and vernacular photos. Read full review