Photoessay: Hidden in the Open

I love photographic exhibits.  One of my favorites was a retrospective of California based 20th century photographers at the Oakland Museum of California some years ago.  It featured the works of Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and other masters of that generation.  A good photograph tells a story reflecting some aspect of the age in which it was taken.  It becomes a window to the past.

A few weeks ago my sister sent me a link to an absolutely amazing online photoessay entitled Hidden in the Open:  A Photographic Essay of Afro American Male Couples. Not only did this serve to introduce me to the exhibit’s totally cool creator, Bronze Buckaroo, but the exhibit itself has enthralled me with its depiction of African American males in various poses of closeness and friendship.  As BB notes, we cannot know for certain if in fact all of the men in the pictures were gay.  Though some of them, in my eyes anyway, scream girlfriend! with snaps flung high.  It is too easy to fall into these pictures and speculate on the lives behind them, both the figures shown and the one behind the camera.  Where did they hang out?  What music did they listen to?  What were their hopes and dreams and fears?  What would they tell you about themselves if you could interview them?  Each photo tickles you with these questions.

Hidden in the Open is a well put together exhibition that pries open a window to the past that is too often boarded-up.  I highly recommend checking it out.

© 2010, gar. All rights reserved.


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