Allen Ellenzweig traces the male gaze upon men as captured by the camera throughout the history of photography. More than one hundred striking, provocative duotone photographs reflect a wide-ranging history of photographic male homoeroticism and the spiritual, physical, and intellectual exchange among men. Accompanying these images is a detailed account of the multiple, complex meanings of the homoerotic that have taken shape from the 1850s to today.
Ellenzweig situates each of his artists within their historical context, with chapters devoted to specific photographers and eras. He begins with nineteenth-century French photographer Eugène Durieu and his studies of the male nude, created under the direction of painter Eugène Delacroix. He then takes readers all the way through the rebellious 1960s and the disputes surrounding Robert Mapplethorpe's controversial retrospective in 1989 and 1990. Showing that homoeroticism in photography is anything but a contemporary invention, Ellenzweig unites photographers across the stylistic spectrum within a theme that came to inspire a host of larger spiritual, physical, and intellectual ideals.