Pretty Things: George Platt Lynes


Loyal readers know we’ve got as much of a hard on for art as we do for history, so why not celebrate the beginning of Gay History Month by celebrating a historic artist? Yeah, we thought it was pretty clever, too.

This is George Platt Lynes, a gay photographer who made a living with fashion photography, but satisfied his artistic soul with sexy shots of nude men. Born in New Jersey, Lynes traveled to Massachusetts for a bit of education and from there to Paris, where he hung in some of the most talented and glamorous circles. Upon his American return, Lynes opened a book store, from which he expected to start a literary career. Little did he know that his photographic hobby would lead to a successful career shooting for Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and The American Ballet.

Of course, we suspect that you’re a little more interested in his nudie work. Working from the 1920s into the 1950s, it’s no surprise that Lynes kept much of his work concealed, lest his homosexual ways draw too much negative attention. Despite his trepidation, Lynes couldn’t shake his deep interest in human sexuality and worked with Dr. Alfred Kinsey, the legendary doctor whose pioneering studies changed the way we look at sexuality forever.

Lynes destroyed many of his prints and negatives, fearing a gay legacy in the wake of his death. Like some fabulous cockroach, some of his work survived and continues to astonish viewers with their provocative poses and deliciously gay subtext. It’s a shame poor Lynes never knew how much later generations would enjoy his work, no?

See a few select images after the jump. And check out the George Platt Lynes site to learn more about this extraordinary artist and his homo ways. Or, you can just remain philistines until the end of time. The choice is yours, really.