Loving: A Photographic History of Men in Love, 1850s-1950s
Hugh Nini, Neal Treadwell
5 Continents, 2020
Loving: A Photographic History of Men in Love, 1850-1950 portrays the history of romantic love between men in hundreds of moving and tender vernacular photographs taken between the years 1850 and 1950. This visual narrative of astonishing sensitivity brings to light an until-now-unpublished collection of hundreds of snapshots, portraits, and group photos taken in the most varied of contexts, both private and public.
Taken when male partnerships were often illegal, the photos here were found at flea markets, in shoe boxes, family archives, old suitcases, and later online and at auctions. The collection now includes photos from all over the world: Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, France, Germany, Japan, Greece, Latvia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, and Serbia. The subjects were identified as couples by that unmistakable look in the eyes of two people in love – impossible to manufacture or hide. They were also recognized by body language – evidence as subtle as one hand barely grazing another – and by inscriptions, often coded.
Included here are ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, glass negatives, tin types, cabinet cards, photo postcards, photo strips, photomatics, and snapshots – over 100 years of social history and the development of photography.
Loving will be produced to the highest standards in illustrated book publishing, The photographs – many fragile from age or handling – have been digitized using a technology derived from that used on surveillance satellites and available in only five places around the world. Paper and other materials are among the best available. And Loving will be manufactured at one of the world’s elite printers. Loving, the book, will be up to the measure of its message in every way.
In these delight-filled pages, couples in love tell their own story for the first time at a time when joy and hope – indeed human connectivity – are crucial lifelines to our better selves. Universal in reach and overwhelming in impact, Loving speaks to our spirit and resilience, our capacity for bliss, and our longing for the shared truths of love.