Haunting Photos Of Gays Cuddling A Century Ago

the invisibles hugSometimes it can be hard to imagine the queers who came before us. Did they even exist? What were their lives like? Were they hot?

Fortunately, French film auteur Sébastien Lifshitz has combed through vintage photos at garage sales and flea markets and eBay for more than 20 years, amassing a collection of old queer life. We have no idea who the people in his pictures are, but we have at least a little glimpse into a world that was, somehow, preserved.

Now he’s releasing a book called The Invisibles: Vintage Portraits of Love and Pride, gathering together all of the images he’s found.

41 couplesSome are super-gay, clearly depicting a same-sex couple. Others are a little more vague, showing an element of queerness like a lady in a top hat. And some just seem to toy with gender around the edges.

Gazing through these photos introduces a new mystery: who took them, and why did such potentially risky images survive after leaving the photographer’s hands?

You might know Lifshitz from some of his other work, particularly if you are fancy and French. He’s the director of Wild Side, a semi-narrative film about hookers, and well as the documentary Bambi.

And he’s also made a documentary based on his book. In The Invisibles, elderly French gays reminisce about life before queer liberation, how they pioneered their own way of life, and what it was like to be rejected by society on a scale that we can only imagine today.

H/t: Huffington Post