This photo book shows male couples between 1850s and 1950s, when it was illegal

Oct 19, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

This photo book shows male couples between 1850s and 1950s, when it was illegal

Oct 19, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

circa 1900, US

I may be naive and a hopeless romantic, but I firmly believe that love conquers all. In their photo book Loving: A Photographic History of Men in Love 1850s-1950s, Hugh Nini and Neal Treadwell prove me right. They have collected a series of photos of male couples from back in the day when it was still illegal to engage in same-sex relationships. They prove that love is stronger than the law, and in case you stopped believing in love, these could make you change your mind.

The collection took years of searching and thousands of kilometers of travel. It all started in 2000 with a single photo from circa 1920. “We came across an old photo that we thought was one of a kind,” the authors write on the book’s website. “The subjects in this vintage photo were two young men, embracing and gazing at one another – clearly in love. We looked at that photo, and it seemed to look back at us.” The photo made them wonder who the men in it were, who took their photo, and how risky it must have been to take a photo like that in the 1920s.

But around a year later, they came across another image that drew their attention. “It was a miniature portrait of two soldiers from the 1940s, approximately the size of a man’s thumbnail,” the authors write. “They were posed cheek to cheek, and their photo was in a small art deco glass frame with “Yours Always” etched into the glass. This is when Hugh and Neal’s twenty-year journey began. They’d never planned it, but it looks as if they’d been destined for it.

circa 1900

The duo has traveled across Europe, Canada, and the US over the past 20 years. During this time, they have visited flea markets and antique shops and combed through boxes and piles of old photos. They’ve also visited online auctions searching for old photos of men in love. And with time, their collection has grown to more than 2,700 images.

Sometimes it’s clear that the photos show a couple. But other times, it’s not that easy to say at first whether the men are in love or just friends. When in doubt, Hugh and Neal use a method that I think never fails – they look into their eyes. “There is an unmistakable look that two people have when they are in love. You can’t manufacture it. And if you’re feeling it, you can’t hide it,” they write. And I couldn’t agree more.

“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 makeup of the couple,” the authors write. And what’s more, the photos also document one hundred years of photography, which is also extremely valuable. You can see the changes in photographic techniques, but also how society and fashion change over time. And what I believe is the most important, you can see that love is love on all continents and in all ages.

You can check out a few more photos below. Make sure to visit Hugh Nini and Neal Treadwell’s Instagram page and the website dedicated to the book, where you can see more images and get more information.

circa 1910, US
circa 1900, US
circa 1900, US
circa 1880, US
1910, USA

[via Bored Panda]

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 responses to “This photo book shows male couples between 1850s and 1950s, when it was illegal”

  1. Neal Treadwell Avatar
    Neal Treadwell

    Thank you for your post and for Sharing LOVING with the world!!

  2. Mimi14 Avatar
    Mimi14

    I am the proud owner of a numbered & signed edition of the first 1000 copies of this book. A true labor of love by Hugh & Neal. This beautiful book is a walk back in time of style, courage, photographic technique, automobiles…but most of all love. Love between 2 people. These photos have survived decades & centuries. I think this book will also. Can there be too much love in the world? I think not…❤️