Eyes Open

Self-Portraits - First Round

During the first few months that I reconnected with photography, I worked on self-portraits. This feels like it is still the beginning stages of exploring who I am.

February 18-24, 2019

Larry Wolf, Magritte Toast (2019) 
Larry Wolf, David W by Our Bed (2019)

Larry Wolf, Husbands (2019)

Larr Wolf, This Is Not A Clock (2019)

Larry Wolf, Self Portrait (2019)

Larry Wolf, Self Portrait (2019)

Larry Wolf, Self Portrait (2019)

March 16, 2019

Larry Wolf, Reflection in Tile (2019)

Larry Wolf, Layers (2019)

March 30, 2019

Larry Wolf, Keith Haring Bathroom Mirror (2019)

Larry Wolf, T-Shirts (2019)

Larry Wolf, Protector (2019)

April 6, 2019

Larry Wolf, Hooded Medusa (2019)

Larry Wolf, Medusa (2019)

Larry Wolf, Kiss Eyes Closed (2019)

Larry Wolf, Kiss Eyes Open (2019)

April 20, 2019

Larry Wolf, Harness (2019)

May 1, 2019

Larry Wolf, Self (2019)

Larry Wolf, Self (2019)

Larry Wolf, Outside (2019)

May 4, 2019

May 18, 2019

Larry Wolf, Remote Control (2019)
Larry Wolf, Eyes Open Project Layout

Artist's Statement - May 2019 - Eyes Open

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.

Three Kisses - 1953, 2989, 2019
I am a man kissing another man. Over the decades of my life, the homosexual kiss has been interpreted in many ways.

  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • 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.

Addendum - May 12, 2021

From Reginald Shepherd's essay "What Remained of a Genet - On the Topic of Querelle" in Orpheus in the Bronx (2007):

"The first time the two men kiss, the first time Querelle ever kisses a man on the mouth (Gil is the second man he ever kisses), "It seemed to him he was pressing his face against a mirror reflecting his own image" (206)

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