One of the great photographers of the 20th century, George Platt Lynes celebrated homoeroticism decades before it was fashionable and paved the way for contemporary queer photographers like Robert Mapplethorpe, Bruce Weber and Herb Ritts. Now New York City’s Steven Kasher Gallery has unveiled an exhibition of more than 40 vintage images taken by the pioneering photographer between 1922 and 1953.
Lynes was born in 1907 in East Orange, NJ, and got his start in book publishing. He traveled to Paris after high school, where he writers Gertrude Stein, Jean Cocteau, Colette and W.H. Auden, many of whom he photographed.
While Lynes was still a student at Yale, he struck up a friendship with writer Glenway Wescott and art curator Monroe Wheeler. George traveled to Villefranche-sur-Mer with the two men, and lived with them as lovers until he moved back to the States to focus on his art. Lynes wrote beautiful letters to Wheeler and Gertrude Stein, talking about his growth as a photographer, and traveled back and forth between Europe and New York to be with his friends and lovers.
In 1933 Lynes opened his first New York studio, where heshot fashion photography for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine invited Lynes to photograph their dancers and, by the ’40s, he was photographing an extraordinary number of stunningly posed male nudes (which was still verboten at the time) as well as notable Hollywood personalities.
Lynes was diagnosed with cancer in 1955 and passed away later that year at the age of 48.
George Platt Lynes’ work is on view at Steven Kasher Gallery through April 7. Images courtesy of Steven Kasher Gallery.
Continue on for more images from George Platt Lynes (potentially NFSW).