The daring photography of George Platt Lynes

George Platt Lynes was a photographer from the late ’20s until 1955 when he passed away and worked as a commercial and fine art photographer. His commercial photography was featured in Vogue magazine and Bazaar, ad campaigns for Barney’s and Henri Bendel’s, as well as ballet photographs for what became the New York City Ballet. One of the big portions of his work that we don’t know as well is his male nudes. At the time George Platt Lynes was working, there were really strong legal ramifications to showing his work, in addition to societal ramifications. There were also laws that discriminated against what we now refer to as LGBTQ people. Because of those stipulations and wanting to protect this work and also the identity of a lot of his models because of ramifications that they might experience, the Kinsey Institute became sort of the place for him to feel safe with his work. In this time period too of intense repression this work that he considered to be his most important was not able to be exhibited and so in a way, this donation was actually really optimistic sort of hopeful, that there would be a time that these pieces would be able to be shown and be appreciated for what they are. One of the points of the exhibition is not just about his work but talking about the context and why he gave to Kinsey, why his name is not as well known as we think it should be, and we want to inspire people to think about the cost of exclusion in the hopes that we become a more inclusive society.

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