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Loving: A Photographic History of Men in Love 1850s-1950s


Price: $65.00 - $46.75
(as of May 09, 2024 21:21:39 UTC – Details)


From the Publisher

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An excerpt from Loving by Paolo Maria Noseda

If I embrace you, do not be afraid. If I embrace you, then accept me as I am; take me with you and transform yesterday into today; do not allow tomorrow’s doubt to interfere between us. “Loving” is a gift for those who are not capable of suffocating their emotions or are afraid of being overwhelmed. It is the force of he who fears neither derision, nor criticism, as he has grasped the certitude of his own being as something Human and True. An embrace is a human who talks of sentiment and negates not the present.

Hope is kindled from an embrace, and as much as it is humanly possible to speak of certainty, no one can know their own beauty or perceive a sense of their own worth until it has been reflected back through the mirror of another loving, caring human being.

Photo below by: Bill Westmorland

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Meet Hugh Nini and Neal Treadwell

We have been together for nearly thirty years. According to us, we’ve been married since 1992. There wasn’t a ceremony with friends and family. It was just something we did on our own and it included exchanging rings. None of the subjects in our photos had the legal option of marriage, they, like us in 1992, did have the private, personal option.

These photos have taught us something we instinctively understood, but hadn’t yet formed into a thought: the human heart has never conformed to the strictures of society as it stumbles awkwardly through something it doesn’t immediately understand. The heart will always find its way to the light, and in this case, into daylight. Until this collection, we thought that the notion of us as a loving couple was “new.” What we have learned from our collection is that we’re not new. We, and other couples like us, both male and female, are a continuation of a long line of loving couples who have probably existed since the beginning of time.

Love is love no matter what and in the end it’s just universal.

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A note from the collectors Hugh Nini and Neal Treadwell

Our collection reveals to the world, and even to us, for the first time and voluminously, that feelings of love, attachment, or longing between two people are the same—regardless of the gender make-up of the couple. Their images evoke as powerful a sense of love and humanity as has ever been filmed, or written about, or acted out on a stage. They appear in many varied contexts that repeat across time and global geography. They pose together in the bow of a boat, on a tree branch, on a bicycle, at the beach, in a forest, leaning against a car, and even in, or on, a bed. From a social perspective, the range is extensive as the images reflect back nineteenth-century working class figures, fashionably dressed businessmen, university students, and soldiers and sailors of all ages.

It spans a century of time between the 1850s and the 1950s, and hits many notes in a rich chord. Thematically, it represents pure love. Photographically, it documents, from nearly its beginning, the first one hundred years of photo taking. One can also see the evolution of fashion, hairstyles, and societal norms as they relate to these subjects. The result is a romantic depiction of a special category of human beings, in all their diversity, that has been shown to be overwhelming for some, but certainly eye-opening for all. The intensity of their expressions, the purity of their passion, the simplicity of their emotions all serve to communicate a message as old as time, but from an unexpected, and heretofore hidden, source. Loving is a book that is intended to usher in a new sensibility, a fresh humanism of love. Rather than categorizing individuals, the collection brings us all together, “accidentally,” under one—if we may—“umbrella.” It shines new light on the universality of the most written about, enacted, or filmed emotion—love. Its message is for everyone.

Experience this, “love letter to the world, a powerful depiction of love between two people.” – Hugh Nini & Neal Treadwell

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The “first selfie” of a romantic male couple

A couple, dating from around 1900, placed a camera on a dresser in front of a mirror and photographed their reflection using what appears to be the Faries Shutter Tripper. Below their picture, the two men wrote: “In the mirror.”

The first “umbrella couple” photo

One unexpected recurring theme, beginning sometime in the mid-1800s and continuing into the late 1920s, is that posing together under an umbrella was a signal that two men were romantically involved.

One of oldest photos from 1860

This photo has a tintype dating from around 1860 and shows one of the men wearing a ring on his little finger. There is a sprinkling of various other photos where the men are wearing a ring, or rings. But it isn’t until you get to the American military from World War II that you begin to see lots of wedding rings—and even a few bracelets.

“There is an unmistakable look that two people have when they are in love. You can’t manufacture it. And if you’re experiencing it, you can’t hide it.” – Hugh Nini & Neal Treadwell

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A compelling photo from approximately 120 years ago

The couple is holding a preprinted message, and looking to us, the viewers. Each held the opposite edge of a sign that reads: “Not Married But Willing To Be.” They posed for that photo in a very different world than the one we live in today.

“I Do” photograph, circa 1900

This photo appears to be one of the first documented marriage between two men. The two well-dressed young men sharing an umbrella. One is placing a wedding ring on the other’s finger. A third man, acting as the officiate, stands opposite them with his right hand in the air in the “I declare” position, and what appears to be a Bible in his left hand.

World War II soldiers

Some photos depict a relationship that is only subtly evident, such as this one of two WWII soldiers stationed in Austria. Had the photo been discovered during their lifetimes, the soldiers could have plausibly claimed to be “just buddies” posing for a photo. However, a companion photo to this one, on page 110 of LOVING, leaves no doubt as to the romantic nature of the soldier’s relationship.

Publisher ‏ : ‎ 5 Continents Editions Srl (October 14, 2020)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 8874399286
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-8874399284
Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 4.05 pounds
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 9.01 x 1.37 x 0 inches