Hard to Imagine: Gay Male Eroticism in Photography and Film from Their Beginnings to Stonewall / Edition 1

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Spanning more than a century of photography and film, Hard to Imagine is the first visual chronicle of the evolution of gay male image culture, from the canonical works of "art" photography and cinema to the private and often highly explicit productions of amateurs. This comprehensive work explores a vast, eclectic tradition in its totality, analyzing the aesthetics of the visual imagery, its production, circulation, and consumption, and broad social and legal implications.

Columbia University Press

Honorable mention as an outstanding book in film, television and video studies, Society for American Studies; A VLS Favorite Book of the Year

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Editorial Reviews

Spanning more than a century of photography and film, this visual chronicle of the evolution of gay male image culture explores a vast, eclectic tradition. Waugh analyzes the aesthetics of the visual imagery of homoerotica as well as its production, circulation, consumption, and broad social and legal implications. His analysis of gay eroticism is accompanied by 377 photographs<-->most of them of nude men<-->ranging from the artful, pansexual works of 19th century European studio photographers to modern commercial efforts. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231099981
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 12/5/1996
  • Series: Between Men~Between Women: Lesbian and Gay Studies Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 488
  • Sales rank: 1,417,821
  • Product dimensions: 7.35 (w) x 10.33 (h) x 1.19 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Waugh is professor of film studies at Concordia University, Montreal, and editor of Show Us Life: Towards a History and Aesthetics of Committed Documentary. His articles on the history of homoerotic film and photography have appeared in the Village Voice, Cineaction!, JUMP CUT, The Body Politic, and other publications.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 Beginnings 1
Reclaiming a Cultural Heritage 1
Nineteenth-Century Roots: The Emergence of Photography as the Privileged Medium for Gay Eroticism 21
Image Patterns That Keep Coming Up 40
Ch. 2 Art and Arousal 59
Academic Photography 61
The Pictorialist Generation 71
The Glamour Generation 102
The Road to Stonewall 140
Ch. 3 Strength and Stealth 176
The Physical Culture Movement of the Fin-de-Siecle 177
The German Frei Korper Kultur Movement 191
Pioneering North American Developments 1918-1945 205
The Kinsey Generation: The Golden Age of Magazines and Mail Order 1945-1963 215
The Movies 253
Coda: Chronology of Persecution, Censorship, and Resistance 1945-1969 273
Ch. 4 "Oh Horror! Those Filthy Photos": Illicit Photography and Film 284
"Partouze" Photography 1880-1930 285
Stag Movies 309
The Modern Era of Illicit Photography 322
Gay-Centered Cinema 1930-1969 351
Ch. 5 Law, Science, and Politics 366
The Lens of the Law 368
Hirschfeld 376
Kinsey 389
Erotic Images and the Gay Movement 402
Endings 417
Notes 421
Bibliography 445
Index 455
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