HomoPhotoArt: A Sixty Year rEvolution
In honor of Seattle Pride and the invaluable contributions of gay art to the field of erotica, the Festival invited celebrated photographer Jim Wilkinson to create a special installation.
HomoPhotoArt: A Sixty Year rEvolution illustrates the radical changes in gay erotic art and photography that have taken place from the early ‘50s to today.
“The installation builds momentum and explodes at its conclusion…”
This installation is 28′ wide, and through photographs, paintings, and a monitor displaying hundreds of digital images, it will demonstrate the revolutionary change which took place across this 60 year period.
And don’t miss special Pride Art Tours with artist Jim Wilkinson on Saturday June 23 at 1.30pm and Sunday June 24 at 2.30pm!
A Riveting Look Through History
Many people are unfamiliar with the severe restrictions imposed upon photographers in the mid-century. These artists were often threatened, sometimes jailed, and all were forced to share their work in the most limited manner.
Beginning with George Quaintance’s photography and paintings, through the “posing strap” era of Bob Mizer/AMG and others such as the Western Photography Guild, the images morph into what is available today.
The installation begins with some early black and white images (many from a private collection), which are stunning in their simplicity.
Significant moments are noted, such as the late 1960s when the U.S. Postal Service dropped its restrictions on frontal nudity being sent in the mail. This moment alone was a game-changer: the posing straps (shown in the image above) came off once and for all, and gay erotic photography changed forever.
But it wasn’t just the dropping of the posing straps: technology changed. The forbidden images became available to all. Images which were once only imagined or viewed in private are now accessed by and available to nearly everyone.
The installation builds momentum and explodes at its conclusion as it flashes hundreds of images of the men Jim has known and photographed over the last ten years, representing the current stage of proliferation and freedom in gay erotic art and images.
The installation does not attempt to include nor showcase the most well known photographers of this era.
Instead, lesser known photographers’ works are displayed, which helps to promote the idea of the very real evolution of change that occurred without the influence of celebrity status.
About Jim Wilkinson and His Inspirations
“This installation is sure to stimulate, entertain, and challenge you to contemplate the rapid acceleration of gay eroticism in our lives today.”
Jim Wilkinson has been photographing NW men for over ten years. His love of mid-century male photography caused him to amass a large collection of these beautiful (sometimes quaint) images over the years, and it continues to influence how he sees his models today.
From his earliest memories, these mid-century images reflect an early longing which Jim describes not unlike “… a song which I somehow knew and yet couldn’t quite remember the lyrics”.
Jim has created an installation which portrays the radical changes in gay erotic photography over the span of his lifetime. He weaves the images together in such a way that the installation itself reflects on a deeply personal (possibly subconscious) level his own evolution as a formerly married man to the partnered gay man he is today.
Jim has had several one-man shows in Seattle and has created five self-published photography books. He has three adult sons and lives in Edmonds, WA with his partner Jeff Coe.
Last year Jim’s installation Naked Truth was second runner-up Audience Choice.
Photographs and installation description by Jim Wilkinson.