Looking a little bored, this sleepy-eyed yet endearingly sweet-faced model poses in the studio of Gustav Moreau, photographer Henri Rupp providing anatomical reference for a later painted scene. He does not look at all enthusiastic about his role in the process, as though this has been going on plenty long enough and he would rather be elsewhere now!
Three lovely lean-muscled young men from Taormina, likely to have been fishermen as so many of the local lads were thus employed - I cannot help but wonder if they were friends before this day, whether they worked together, perhaps, and all volunteered to model together when von Gloeden was seeking subjects for his work, or maybe they met for the first time but a few minutes before assuming such a comfortably, confidently intimate pose.
As the first photograph of Ange Camilli was so popular when posted, here is another fine picture of this remarkably handsome man. Sadly, the rest of the set have been censored to preserve his modesty at the time of publishing, and it appears the unedited images have never been made available.
The seascape behind these two affectionate fellows may offer a hint toward the origin of their photosgraph : seaside holidays became exceedingly popular in the 19th century and photography a fascinating and novel way to create a personal momento of an outing to enjoy the charms of the coastal towns catering for tourists. Many a photographer set up shop on or near the sea-front, with elaborately painted signs to entice customers in to have their picture taken ‘by the sea’ - but of course it is a painted sea backdrop, not the real thing.
An extremely good-looking young man, posed with a tantalising combination of grace and provocative sensuality, photographed by either Guglielmo Plüschow or Vincenzo Galdi - at the point when they worked from the same studio, it can be impossible to pin down exactly who deserves credit for each photograph, with Galdi even signing some prints of Plüschow’s earlier work.
I must add, one of the things I find so lovely about these old photographs is the variation of colour in each print - though every picture in my collection is taken in black and white, the processes involved in transferring them to paper leave a subtle rainbow of shades, from soft sepia to stunning blue!
I must offer my apologies with this fine photograph, for I have nothing of note to add - photographer, model, and year unknown, it is cut adrift of whatever accompanying information it deserves, and so if any of you knowledgeable readers can fill in the blanks, I would be, as always, delighted to update with the correct credits and grateful for your assistance.
What sort of moment do we witness, what word left lost as the photograph was taken - a stern admonishment to sit still this time, some fleeting joke between them? We will never know the meaning behind the gesture captured here, two unknown gents in the late 19th Century.
Another submission, from generous reader John - a truly lovely photograph of what may be a familiar face to those long-time followers of my collection here : it is none other than the beautiful, much-admired Carlo! An image often incorrectly attributed to von Gloeden; yet when we take a moment to observe that lovely face, those plump pouting lips and oh-so-seductive, expressive eyes, and indeed the same distinctive fabrics draped over whatever he reclines upon, it becomes clear this is another photograph from the wondrous, deeply erotic set taken by Vincenzo Galdi, in 1906.
Donated this week by an eager enthusiast who would prefer to remain anonymous, a wonderfully different shot from Wilhelm von Gloeden, a departure from the sunny outdoor idyll so commonly depicted in his work. Here, instead of the sometimes heavy hints toward feigned antiquity, we see an honest, modern setting, a simple set-up and soft light.
I thank you, sir, for your quite lovely contribution and your kind comments, I do so love to hear from people who enjoy following my collection as it grows, and earnestly hope you continue to do so.
A lamentably small picture, but nonetheless lovely, of the gorgeous Carlo, one of the esteemed stars of this collection. Photographed in a series of seductive poses by Vincenzo Galdi, at the home of his lover Robert Hawthorn Kitson, in 1906. The other portraits of this most alluring of sitters can be seen here.
With the graceful tilt of his hips and lifted heel, this man’s pose immediately brings to mind the elegance and power of those gods depicted in classical statues, a flesh-and-blood example of the same combination of strength and beauty revered there as the epitome of masculine perfection.
He also has, it must be said, the most impressive moustache of any of von Gloeden’s many models!
As the first animated blacksmith I shared here was rather well-enjoyed, I thought it was time to include another - this time two work together to hammer the hot steel much more efficiently. Again made from a set of sequential photographs taken in the 1870s by Eadweard Muybridge (Animal Locomotion vol II, plate 337).
A serious-faced young Italian man, captured on camera by Guglielmo Plüschow around the turn of the century, impeccably lit with natural daylight to create deep shadows and highlight each and every luscious curve. The vast majority of his pictures were taken outdoors, these intimate indoor portraits seem as though they may be more personal - a model photographed for the pleasure of his lover, perhaps; a glimpse into a private home.
A splendid photograph I’ve featured before, a long while back, here revealed in its fuller glory - it is always a shame to see them cropped tight, never knowing what we lose, and I do not think it too tiresome to repeat a posting in order to show you a better copy of an image I much admired the first time around.
My goodness, at this precise moment my dear little collection’s esteemed audience stands at an astounding eight thousand followers! I never even imagined it might make eight hundred, I was honestly pleased with achieving but eighty, and now look at you all! I thank each and every one for your interest, your sharing and showing your admiration of the photographs, and all the kind messages of appreciation; and I fervently hope you’ve all found plenty to enjoy in what you’ve seen here over the last couple of years.
I have been unable to find you a photograph of eight men together, to mark today’s total the way I did some other significant figures, so allow me to cheat just a little and present eight exposures of the same man, in a Marey Wheel photograph by Thomas Eakins, circa 1884.