Monday, September 21, 2009

Getting What You Want

It's amazing how some people emerge from the most unlikely, tepid, tame backgrounds and get what they want: an erotic life. F. Holland Day--the F standing for Fred, the name he dropped--was born in 1864 in quiet provincial Fred Land, Norwood Massachusetts, to well-to-do middle class parents who didn't know much about art and less about men who love men. At the beginning of the twentieth century he was famous for his photography; earlier he had been an important book publisher.

While it's uncertain if Holland Day ever had a lover, he succeeded in getting beautiful men to take off their clothes and pose for him. He was in love with Thomas Langryl Harris, the subject of a photograph Stieglitz labeled, "Study for the Crucifixion," which Day did not exhibit. I don't know the name of the man with the wreathed head.

Day also made portraits. His subjects seem engaged with the photographer. What did he say to elicit such expressions? It's clear that he reached the fashionable woman, the black child, the young man wearing a cravat. While the homoerotic shots are nakedly sensuous, the subjects of the clothed portraits are more present, more alive--in their eyes, in their faces.


  1. what an incredibly beautiful child...
    and isn't it amazing that he managed to find his way?
    lovely photographs.
    I've missed you and reading your blogs...and apologize..

  2. Every once in a while you run across a human being who expands the world for you, makes it a more interesting and vital place.

    You have done that for me, for which you have my gratitude.



  3. It's so good to hear from you both, Tearful and Melissa.