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Keith Vaughan-Highgate Men’s Pond Album-1933

The Photographers’ Gallery presents a bold new exhibition charting over 60 years of queer photography of the male physique.

Bringing together more than 100 works, the exhibition centres on queer photographs of men’s bodies, produced in London in the twentieth century.

Taking a novel approach, the exhibition highlights key areas of London which were a focus for men seeking out men to photograph. It maps out a territory of risk and possibility across Highgate, between Chelsea and Wellington Barracks, in Soho, Brixton, Portobello and Euston. Within each site it is possible to locate artists of all persuasions, creating work about queer sensibilities and men’s bodies in radical ways. Catalogues, print ordering sheets, personal albums, magazines and publications are also included in the exhibition to explore how these photographs were circulated, exchanged and shared. Drawing together photographs produced for commercial, as well as creative and personal purposes.

A Hard Man is Good to Find! dissolves hierarchies, creates non-linear historical narratives and brokers unlikely adjacencies. Covering the 1930s to early 1990s, many works are exhibited here for the first time including Keith Vaughan’s Highgate Men’s Pond album, a modernist photo collage made in 1933; ‘The Portobello Boys’, an anonymous and striking portfolio of young men taken in the late 1950s and early 1960s in North Kensington. A set of archetypes, ‘The Londoners’, documented in the late 1960s by Anthony C Burls(trading as Cain of London) and Martin Spenceley’s street portraits of subcultural men photographed in Euston in the 1980s.

The exhibition includes works by: John S Barrington, Cecil Beaton, Guy Burch, Basil Clavering (trading as Royale), Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Bill Green  (trading as Vince), David Gwinnutt, Paul Hawker, Angus McBean and Ajamu X.

A Hard Man is Good to Find! - 03 Mar 2023 - Sun 11 Jun 2023

Further Information: A Hard Man is Good to Find! | The Photographers Gallery