Friday, June 06, 2008

Alan B. Stone and the Senses of Place

This historical exhibition at SF Camerawork (through August 23, 2008) examines the social and cultural conditions affecting the life and work of Alan B. Stone, a gay photographer who worked prolifically in Montreal, Canada from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Writer, historian and curator David Deitcher, (Affectionate Men) who also grew up in Montreal, presents Stone's work as a means of exploring some of the ways in which Deitcher himself subjectively experiences, uses, and is affected by photographs.

Stone (1928-1992) considered himself a commercial photographer, not an artist. His photographs of postwar Montreal reflect the period of economic and social repression.
His early photos scouting photos are subtly erotic, reflecting an oblique sexual point of view that carries through much of his work.

Beginning in 1953 under the name Mark One Studio, Stone was marketing male physique photos. "With their dubious claims to athleticism and/or art, such magazines offered a dime-thin veneer of deniability to closeted customers."

Deitcher goes on to observe that: "The photographs made under the Mark One name also document Stone's personal connection (or lack thereof) to a sense of gay community." Living at home with his Mother until her death, he photographed short models in the basement, tall models outdoors.

The Camerwork site has only a couple images so if you're in San Francisco this summer, this exhibition is highly recommended.

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