For anyone wanting a bit of visual gay history–or just wanting to see how men looked back in “the day”–look no further than the work of George Platt Lynes, the photographer who specialized in photographing gay men. A bunch of his work goes up for auction this week.
Lynes grew up in New Jersey before going away to France to prep school. There he discovered queer artists, befriending fabled gay artists like Gertrude Stein & Jean Cocteau and coming to terms with his own sexuality. After studying at Harvard, he returned to France to begin his career as a photographer and earned a reputation for shooting sensuous and often fully nude shots of male and female models. His first show in New York City in 1932 caused a sensation, and Lynes became a go-to photographer for publications like Vogue.
Lynes also played a key role in the work of Alfred Kinsey, the researcher who pioneered studies of human sexuality and eventually discovered that homosexuality is a natural orientation rather than a mental illness. Lynes provided Kinsey with vital data, as well as a collection of homoerotic photographs which helped fuel Kinsey’s research.
Now, a few of Lynes’ photographs have gone up for auction, sparking a renewed interest in his work. They include homoerotic and nude shots of models Randolph Jack and Jack Fontan, who still go easy on the eyes after all these years.
Head to the auction site to see the full collection up for grabs.