Saturday, April 12, 2008

Baron Willhelm von Gloeden


As part of the series of Journal entries about contemporary alternative gay male art versus traditional gay male art I explore the history and relationship of photography in general to gay male photography in particular.

On first examination of the literature, I wondered who came first, Von Gloeden or F. Holland Day? I’m still wondering. Both, men worded at the same time, and both, men of wealth perfected the use of light in their photographs, experimented with textural elements, and used classical elements in their photography simultaneously. Both took photographs of nude young men that would place them in the category of pederasts today. It is stated in the literature repeatedly that von Gloeden had sex with his models, but not so with Day. It may be that the more puritanical elements in American culture prevent such exploration of Day’s life. Be that as it may, I propose that these two men from such disparate parts of the globe were the product of zeitgeist working in Western cultures.

* Image based on “Figure d'Etude” (ca 1835) by Hippolyte Flandrin.

Wilhelm von Gloeden, “Men by Wilhelm von Gloeden,” Wikimedia Commons. Modified 17:49 GMT, June 11, 2007. Viewed 6:37 AM EDT, April 11, 2008.

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