Beautifully Intimate Portraits Of Gay Couples From The Height Of AIDS Hysteria

In the Summer of 1986, photographer Sage Sohier set out to document the lives of gay and lesbian Americans in their homes. It was the peak of AIDS hysteria, and her intimate photos stood (and continue to stand) in humanizing defiance to the horrible rumors and fears circulating about the gay community in mainstream society.

Sohier’s father was also gay, though he couldn’t quite say those words. Looking back on this series, titled “At Home With Themselves: Same-Sex Couples In 1980s America,”Sohier has come to see her work as a vehicle to connect with her dad.

“After I showed my father the pictures, he teared up, he looked moved, and seemed grateful,” she told The New York Times. “There was a sense of relief. I felt that I was sort of saying to him that I understood what was going on and that I was OK with it.”

Here is a selection from the portfolio, which is now also a book. More info on that here.

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Tim and Chuck, Key West, FL, 1987
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Gordon and Jim, with Gordon’s mother Margot, San Diego, CA, 1987
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David and Eric, Boston, MA, 1986
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Brian and Hanns, Key West, FL, 1988
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George and Tom, with Samantha, Key West, FL, 1987
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Chris and Cris, Provincetown, MA, 1986
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Jean and Elaine, Santa Fe, NM, 1988
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Sue and Shelley, with four of Shelley’s five children, San Carlos, CA, 1988
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Reno and Lee, Fire Island, 1988
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Sheila and Dorothy, Santa Fe, NM, 1988
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Herb and Dana, Quincy, MA, 1988
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Bruce and Don, Washington, D.C., 1987
Cindy and Barb’s Wedding, Boston, MA, 1986
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Bill and Ric, with Ric’s daughter Kate, San Francisco, 1987
Lloyd and Joel, San Francisco, 1987
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Stephanie and Monica, Boston, MA, 1987


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Linda and Nancy, Key West, FL, 1988

© Sage Sohier 2014