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.
© Sage Sohier 2014
These are incredibly moving photos.
The guy in the forefront, 4th pic down is so, so handsome. The haircuts were fun to look at on the others. Beautiful snaps.
It would be really interesting for the photographer to try to reconnect with some of her subjects to see what there lives are like now.
I agree. Sometimes the most candid, intimate photos can say more than words ever could express.
By the looks of some of the photos, some of the subjects were already sick. I’m curious to see how they look today. God bless them.
Wow, it feels like going back to another era or life looking at these incredibly intimate and beautiful pictures.
I get a heavy heart looking at them, almost in the same way I do when I see pictures of Berlin and Jewish families in a some sort of celebration from the 1920’s, before everything just fell apart.
When I think about the 1980’s I am reminded of my childhood and how impossible it felt to be Gay, and when I see these pictures I think to myself how difficult life must have been not only dealing with society’s rabid homophobia, but the real fear and dread wrought by HIV and AIDS. I often wonder what our Gay culture would have been like if the entire generation of Gay men we lost had all survived.
These are great, thanks for sharing!
This takes me back to all of my friends that I have lost during that period who I think about often. This is an important book. I appreciate the photos are in black and white, it was a very dark time. I will be getting this book.
@restoretherainbow: How many of us died? 50%? 60%? It WOULD be a different culture if those men had lived. Also, so many of our leaders died. I am eternally thankful for those men who pulled gay culture through those times, to the other side, where we are now.
Politically we are doing fine, but humanities-wise, not so well. The “gay” is disappearing from the culture. Gay influence fading. We need to increase our numbers. Some people say it’s because we’ve mainstreamed the culture. Perhaps, but there’s more to it than that. What’s ahead is also terrifying. The threats from Is***lam have the potential to overwhelm our culture. It is a frightening time. HIV was frightening, life threatening. So is this. Hang on.
Very moving indeed. I always obsess over the ’80s and how I wish I could have lived it, but of course the AIDS crisis is one thing everyone wished never happened. Even though these pictures hold a sad reminder, they are very sweet and show even at the worst of times you can find moments of love and hope.
James R Carter
I bought this book and it is really beautiful. Gave me a great sense of pride to see each image.
going to get this book
these pictures are a great remembrance of days gone by where can i get the book
That they are -beautiful; but don’t call it “hysteria”! What are you Republican politicians now? Many, thousands of gay men died during that time, it was not hysteria guys; it was a painful reality for the whole of the queer community…
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