Gallery

J-DART: OverLaid Bare

(Click above for full image gallery mode)   All images © J-Dart

J-DART: OverLaid Bare

J-DART is a gay photographic artist based in Melbourne. His work explores a modern approach in representing the human body. J-DART harmoniously combines old and new, natural and artificial, elegant and awkward, simple and intricate.

His images focus on the human body, stripped bare and juxtaposed by either the space they inhabit, or in the case of the images in this gallery, an artificial environment created from abstract projections which accentuate the human form whilst at the same time obscuring it.

You can follow J-DART on Facebook and Tumblr or discover more of his arresting images over at his official website here.

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David Shenton: Documenting Gay History

(Click any image to enlarge and to enter gallery mode)   All images © David Shenton

David Shenton: Documenting Gay History

Me and Kate Charlesworth, who is a friend of mine and the lesbian equivalent of me, filled the gay press with cartoons, and between us we actually wrote down, documented gay history – without even meaning to …”

David Shenton’s work is many things:  funny, illuminating, touching, surprising and always perceptive. In this gallery we celebrate 35 years of his cartoon strips that tell a snap-shot story of gay life in the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s.

You can discover more about David and his wonderfully charming work in our interview with him which we filmed last summer by clicking here. We also publish a weekly cartoon by David every Wednesday and you can follow him on Facebook on his page: These Foolish Things.

Gallery: The Photography of Jamie Stewart

(Click images to enlarge and to enter gallery mode)   All photographs © Jamie Stewart

The Photography of Jamie Stewart

Alongside our interview with Xiu Xiu, frontman Jamie Stewart has contributed a selection of his never seen before photography to Polari Magazine for LGBT History Month.

Taken on his travels around the world, the photographs echo the music he has made for over ten years: vibrant, abstract, distorted and surreal.

 

London Pride 2013

(Click images to enlarge and to enter gallery mode)   All photographs © Bryon Fear

London Pride 2013

This year, Pride in London had to go through a process of rebirth and rise from the ashes of last year’s catastrophic World Pride which left the community disillusioned and angry. A new organising body, calling themselves London Community Pride, tendered to run the event and in January announced that they had won a 5 year contract to do just that.

The board asked the community to assist in making this year’s Pride a success and Polari Magazine responded by helping to curate and run the Pride Arts Programme, a community arts strand of the festival. Polari created a bespoke website to publicise the events and has, since its creation, maintained and updated the site over the past four months.

On June 29, Pride in London took place and Polari Magazine was there to document the LGBT community as they took to the streets to take part in the march, which is at the heart of any Pride event.

If you recognise you or your friends in any of the pictures, please drop us a line and we will send you the original photograph!

Dust Jacket Designs • Andy Warhol

Anyone who knows anything about Andy Warhol will know that before POP he was a successful commercial illustrator. Throughout the 1950s he worked for advertising agencies, record labels and publishers.

As a massive Warhol fan without the budget to own an actual Warhol, I started collecting some of his commercial work, including the handful of books he designed covers for – all of which are displayed in this gallery.

Most are completely obscure and long-forgotten. Some – such as Baron Corvo’s The Desire and Pursuit of the Whole – even have a gay theme. But they all have Andy in common and are now extremely collectable.

I love them all but I particularly cherish Pistols for Two. It was published in 1951, when Warhol was only 23 years old and had only been in New York for 2 years.

No official catalogue exists of this small but perfectly formed collection and so I am terribly excited to share it with Polari! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

 

Eyes & Skies • Lee Baxter

Lee Baxter photographs landscapes and people.

The sense of the remote permeates his urban panoramas, which are amplified by huge expanses of sky that overwhelm the compositions. His portraits are conversely intimate, connecting with his subjects directly through their gaze into his lens. Sometimes these two worlds collide when Baxter shoots his subjects in barren wildernesses. But it’s not the coming together of people within the landscapes which gives these images cohesion … It’s negative space.

Baxter creates both solitude and intimacy through his use of negative space. In his landscapes, the negative space is formed out of the vast skies that bear down mercilessly on his buildings and horizons. In his portraiture, he uses the negative space to isolate and frame his subjects; this isolation creates a sense of a tryst like intimacy. Even when he’s not engaging with his models directly through their eyes, he uses negative space to push the viewer into the place inhabited by his subject, often (but not always) forcing this connection through extreme close-up. These moments feel extremely intimate despite their anonymity.

‘Eyes & Skies’ is an exploration of these core themes.

 
You can read an interview with Lee Baxter here. And you can see more of Lee Baxter’s work by following this link to his website.
 

World Pride, London 2012

World Pride, London 2012

World Pride 2012 was controversial. First it was announced that there was a £60,000 shortfall needed to stage the event, and the Pride committee was justly criticised. Then it became evident that City Hall was aware of the problems facing Pride but did nothing to intervene, despite Boris Johnson’s claim that City Hall supported the event. City Hall’s ambivalence was further exposed when they told the organisers that it was too late to stage the original planned extravaganza when Gaydar and event sponsor Smirnoff offered well in excess of £60,000 to cover the shortfall.

Westminster Council, who this year doubled the fee to use Trafalgar Square, must have been ecstatic. For years they have consistently made staging Pride as difficult as possible for the organisers, and this year they capitalised on the situation to force a large downscaling of the event with the collusion of City Hall, who announced the march would start 2 hours earlier than had been publicised. This decision was nothing less than an insult to the LGBT community, many of whom had already made travel plans to arrive in London for a 1pm start. It was later leaked that the change of start time was designed to discourage attendance to make the event more manageable. Westminster Council also sent a letter to the Soho bars threatening to revoke licences if they did not operate ‘as on any normal day’, which included letting punters drink on the street or playing music loud enough to be heard outside their premises.

All that said, nothing spurs on a marginalised community quite like the act of staring down adversity. The attendance on the march was far greater than I have seen in years, and the atmosphere was defiant and joyous. And as expected, despite the street party ban, over 100,000 people hit the district, effectively closing the streets of Soho.

Despite the inept organisation of the event, World Pride was a huge success. The ‘back to basics’ approach benefitted the event greatly, even if that decision came from necessity rather than design. This gallery is testament to the LGBTQ community who refused to stand down.

If you recognise you or your friends in any of the pictures, please drop us a line and we will send you the original photograph!

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Turing Centenary: Secrets Of Bletchley Park

Throughout World War II, Bletchley Park was the site of Britain’s main decryption establishment, and it was here that Dilly Knox, John Jeffries and Alan Turing did their historic code breaking work. Turing and his fellow codebreakers developed the Bombe, an electromechanical device designed to discover the daily Enigma Machine settings that the German Navy used to encrypt their top secret communications. Colossus, the world’s first programmable digital electronic computer, designed and built by Tommy Flowers, was delivered to Bletchley in 1943 and set to the task of breaking the more complex Lorenz cypher, codenamed ‘Tunny’. At the time, Bletchley Park was named Station X after the secret radio intercept station it was also home to. Bletchley was one of Britain’s best kept secrets and the high level intelligence that was produced here was codenamed Ultra.

Such was the level of secrecy at Bletchley that much of the groundbreaking work performed here was unknown for years. Never has the term ‘unsung heroes’ been more appropriate than it was to the 8,000 strong task force that worked here daily during the war, most of whom never spoke of what they did at Bletchley and took their experiences (and kudos) to the grave. It has been revealed at the Science Museum’s Alan Turing: Code Breaker exhibition, which opened this week, that some of the papers Turing worked on during his time at Bletchley were so sensitive and relevant to national security that they were only made public this year.

Today Bletchley is open to the public where its secrets have been laid bare. Home to the National Codes Centre and the National Museum of Computing, it is a fascinating place of historic interest. Ticket holders get a year long pass where you can see where Alan Turing lived & worked, as well as fully operational rebuilds of Turing’s Bombe and Flowers’ remarkable Colossus. There are many exhibits here that will be of interest to hard-core war historians, Ian Fleming fans, pigeon fanciers, car enthusiasts, antique collectors, Churchill admirers, maritime & model rail enthusiasts and those of us who want to pay tribute to, and gain a little insight into the great mind of, Alan Turing.

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The Photography of Andrei Vishnyakov

Can one safely assume that a heady and explosive homoeroticism is going to be the inevitable outcome when young, virile men are subjected to the keen eye of a young gay photographer? Not necessarily.

Whilst one can not deny that the work of Russian photographer Andrei Vishnyakov certainly has elements of homoeroticism, what sets apart his work is that it recalls a different era. When I look at Andrei’s images I see very little Mapplethorpe, Pierre et Gilles or Bianchi influences here, but rather echoes of Physique Pictorial and Vim, the magazines from the early part of the 20th century when homoeroticism was veiled under the guise of health and fitness.

And there is a reason for this. Andrei’s models are not models at all: in fact many of them are sourced from fitness clubs, gyms and even street gangs. Prowess is key, testosterone is abundant and there’s just a hint of danger. There is a different type of frisson steeped in his images that comes from being held at arms length. You can look, but you can’t touch. It’s a tension that is wholly more exciting than the homoeroticism of full nudity or the bold statement of an erect phallus.

Read our Interview with Andrei Vishnyakov here.

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The Vintage Gay Adult Novel

A few years ago a friend of mine gave me a book that kick-started my “slight” obsession for collecting vintage American gay paperbacks. The book was called Queer Pulp and had on its cover a blown-up reproduction of Chris Davidson’s Caves of Iron.

What is fascinating about these books is that, from the ‘40s to the ‘60s, their cover art, titles and marketing blurbs give an insight into the evolution of gay male behaviour as well as how they were portrayed in the second half of the 20th Century. In the 1940s they were still married, in the closet and usually tortured by their homosexual tendencies. In the 1950s, they were queer and hiding in some “twilight world”. In the 1960′s they became much more visible, unashamedly masculine and sexually aware.

As novels, most of them are pretty bad (in a good way): cheap pulp, badly (and quickly) written for sexual titillation and very much of their time; but some are classics of modern American literature: The City and the Pillar, Giovanni’s Room and Quatrefoil. But as far as I am concerned, from a paperback collector’s point of you, it’s all about the cover!

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