Saturday, May 18, 2019

Eyes Open - Self Portrait Photo Project - Spring 2019

Eyes Open


Larry Wolf, Eyes Open (2019)


Larry Wolf, Eyes Open (2019)

Larry Wolf, Eyes Open (2019)

Larry Wolf, Eyes Open (2019)

Larry Wolf, Eyes Open (2019)

Larry Wolf, Eyes Open (2019)

Larry Wolf, Eyes Open (2019)


These self-portraits show what it is to kiss. They are intimate moments in a domestic space. At the same time, these portraits are a public display, addressing an unknown viewer.

Kissing oneself is an act of self love. It is personal, a healing touch. It is also a performance, a show of affection toward the one being kissed and a public statement directed to the audience watching the kiss. There is an edge of sexual tension, challenging the viewer.

Here is a doubling, the physical reality reflected back at us.  We see two sides of someone at a single moment. We see the person looking, at themselves, at the camera. We follow the gaze. Sometimes it looks directly at us or it may be looking at himself, myself. The two personas are looking into each other's eyes, two people open to each other.

I am a man kissing another man. Over the decades of my life, the homosexual kiss has been interpreted in many ways.

JJ Belanger,
Young men in photo booth kiss
In the 1950s and 60s, while the suggestion of homosexuality could lead to arrest or suicide, there was also a thriving gay subculture as well as a movement for civil rights reaching back to early in the 20th Century.

Gran Fury, Read My Lips
In the 1970s, it was a call to Gay Liberation and revolution.
In the 1980s and 1990s, it was the AIDS plague and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Alex Deryn,
Pete and Chasten Kiss
in the 2010s, it is marriage equality simultaneous with attacks on anyone different.

All of these times inform the making of these photographs.

The camera is a voyeur whose presence is known to the observed, creating a performance, making an exhibitionist of the subject. We cast our gaze at the person in the image, placing him in a passive position. Since the photographer is also the subject, this makes the seemingly passive subject into the primary actor. The object of attention is the actor; the person viewed is not only choosing to be seen but shaping what is seen and how it is presented.

Looking At You

Larry Wolf, Looking At You (2019)

Thursday, May 2, 2019


Self. Other. Private. Public. Homo. Queer.

Larry Wolf, May 2019

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Two Kisses

Gran Fury - 1988

In the anger of the AIDS crisis
New York Public Library, Gran Fury Archive

Pete and Chasten - 2019

In the celebration of a Presidential campaign
Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images (Mashable)