Thursday, August 25, 2011

Love and Life

Paul Belmondo. Engraving in R. Peyrefitte, Les Amours de Lucien de Samosate.

Love and Life

"Life is ! so, Sweet, we both must make
The best of it, and ever take
All that it holds with both our hands,
And keep it ere the shifting sands
Of life run out, and our hopes shake.

Snatch now the joys for which I ache,
Sleep comes so soon. Awake, awake !
For life is love,  not wealth or lands:
Life is so, Sweet.

Without your love my heart would break,
For that great prize my all I stake,
You bind me with love's silken strands
The strength of which none understands.
I only know for your love's sake
Life is so sweet !"

A. Newman (aka Francis Edwin Murray ?)
Lad's Love. An Anthology of Uranian Poetry and Prose, II
Edited by Michael Matthew Kaylor
Kansas City, Valancourt Books, 2010, p. 69.

Les Amours de Lucien de Samosate

Friday, August 19, 2011

A boy's absence

Henry Scott Tuke (1858-1929) - "Charlie Mitchell"

"Dear boy, I'm sad.
I miss your smile,
Which for a while
Had made me glad.

In dreams, dear lad,
I see your eyes,
Which no disguise
Have ever had.

Do you still prize
The books we read ?
The days long sped
Recall with sighs ?

The flowers are dead,
Our summer's gone,
I grive alone — 
All joy has fled."

A. Newman (aka. Francis Edwin Murray ?)
in: Michael Matthew Kaylor. Lad's Love. An Anthology of Uranian Poetry and Prose, Kansas City, Valancourt Books, vol. 1, 2010, p. 98

When Uranian poets collected von Gloeden's photographs...

An excerpt from: Michael Matthew Kaylor, Secreted Desires. The Major Uranians: Hopkins, Pater and Wilde, Brno, Czech Republic: Masaryk University, 2006, p. 86-87

This book is available as a free .pdf download here

"For their own more private and masturbatory purposes, the Uranians  collected artworks of a different sort: nudes of Italian boys by photographers such as Wilhelm von Gloeden (1856-1931), residing in Taormina, Sicily, and his distant relative Wilhelm (Guglielmo) von Plüschow (1852-1930), residing mostly in Rome — photographs that have themselves become collectables dispersed by auction houses and chronicled in sales catalogues. However, for the Uranian scholar, catalogues have much to tell, and von Gloeden’s guest book was itself a catalogue of the paederastically-inclined, and included the signature of Oscar Wilde, one of his staunchest admirers.2  Like children with packets of baseball cards, the Uranians exchanged these salacious photographs as a form of pictorial insinuation and friendship. In a New Year’s Eve letter for  1889, Edmund Gosse (1849-1928) thanks Symonds for sending him one such photograph, undoubtedly as a Christmas gift: ‘As I sat in the Choir [of Westminster Abbey during Robert Browning’s funeral], with George Meredith at my side, I peeped at it again and again’.3 Boys will be boys — but there were real dangers involved in such exchanges and glances, though the Uranians had, it must be admitted, ‘the ability to devise elegant stratagems to legitimize sexual display’.4 It is difficult to imagine an ‘elegant stratagem’ that would have ‘legitimized’ Gosse’s constant peeping at a nude, provocatively posed Sicilian boy during Browning’s funeral — however, for the Uranians the danger was half the pleasure.5"

(1) The fact that these two paederastic aristocrats, who were also photographers, left Germany to reside in Italy is explained by Vicki Goldberg in ‘A Man-Made Arcadia Enshrining Male Beauty’, New York Times (13 August 2000), ‘Art/Architecture’ section, pp.30-31: ‘Germany in the 1880s was still prosecuting men for nude sunbathing, but in Sicily, male children ordinarily went nude on the beach, and most Mediterranean countries tacitly accepted homosexuality as a passing phase in a boy’s development’ (p.30). She also comments on von Gloeden’s success as a photographer: Not bad for a man who might have well been arrested for child pornography in our supposedly more tolerant and certainly less wilfully innocent culture. Von Gloeden was interested only in young boys and early adolescents […] He photographed some of the same models for years but usually stopped doing so as they reached early manhood. A couple of young children who cannot be much more than 5 or 6 also turn up in his photographs. (P.31)
‘Von Gloeden, a young Prussian country squire, left his homeland for Italy to regain his physical (he suffered from a disabling lung condition) and mental health (the psychological distress he experienced as a pederast unable to indulge his erotic fantasies)’ — ‘Wilhelm von Gloeden’ [Exhibition press release], Throckmorton Fine Art, New York City, NY (exhibition of 12 July – 9 September 2000).

(2) Goldberg, p.30.

(3)  As quoted in Ann Thwaite, Edmund Gosse: A Literary Landscape, 1849-1928 (London: Secker & Warburg, 1984), p.323. I  ish to thank Dr Rictor Norton for corresponding with me regarding this point. According to d’Arch Smith, Symonds made such gifts to others as well, as a sign of friendship and understanding: ‘Symonds was extremely kind to [Charles Kains] Jackson, [and] sent him photographs of nude Italian youths from the studios of von Gloeden and others’ (p.18). It should be noted that von Gloeden’s photographs were not always treated as mere pornography: ‘His work was shown in international exhibitions and published in art journals, which doubtless preferred the more discreet images’ (Goldberg, p. 30). The details I have provided for each of Wilhelm von Gloeden’s photographs reproduced here — photographs von Gloeden produced in multiple copies — merely accounts for one of the extant prints. These details come from Peter Weiermair, ed.  with intro., Wilhelm von Gloeden: Erotische Photographien (Cologne, Germany: Taschen, 1993).

(4)  Goldberg, p.31.

(5) George Meredith wrote a poem commemorating Browning’s funeral, ‘Now Dumb Is He Who Walked the World to Speak’. This poem does not mention Gosse’s prurient asides

Monday, August 15, 2011

That is the question

"I wonder why my heart beats fast
As you I see, coming past .
Your step has all the spring of youth,
Your eye the bold brights light of Truth:
Will you my future bless or blast ?

Round you I long my arms to cast
Like ship-wrecked sailors around a mast,
Such confidence I feel. In sooth
I wonder why ? 

Could you love me ? I stand aghast
And tremble at a change so vast:
My love might seem to you uncouth,
It might bring you regret and ruth.
Why has love come to me at last
I wonder ? Why ?"

A. Newman (aka. Francis  Edwin Murray, 1854-1932 ?)
in: Michael Matthew Kaylor. Lad's Love. An Anthology of Uranian Poetry and Prose, Kansas City, Valancourt Books, vol. 1, 2010.

My blog is two years old...

Two years is such a short time... In the virtual world of blogs, however, it is just a long, long time... My blog was not deleted... I did not receive (yet) any hate message. I am still motivated to add new posts, new contents, either photographs, paintings, drawings or texts... 

This blog is a mirror of a part of my life... It is a way to depict my inner world, my feelings, my identity, my dreams and my imagination.

I felt in love with Taormina, with the baron von Gloeden and with some of his models... I find in von Gloeden's photographic art something that makes me dream, that inspires me. It is a world of Arcadia recreated on the shore of Sicilia, it is a world between Antiquity and modernity, just an aesthetic fiction, where Sicily and ancient Greece are an alibi providing a gay desire with its alibi, with its cultural roots, with its visual fullfilment...

Would von Gloeden be allowed to share his photographic art today ? I don't know... On the other hand, his vintage albuminate and argentic prints are collected by major Museums and Libraries today, and are  sometimes displayed in international auctions....

It seems my blog has a small follow-up, and I am very happy to share my vision, my texts and my photographs with so many visitors from so many countries.

Please, feel free to comment, to give some feedback, or just to say "Hi" and why you visit my blog... 

Thanks to all


The Photographic Art of Egon

I love Egon's photographic art... If you want to know more about his artistic universe and his books, you should click  here.
I repost on Sicilian Dreams some sample of Egon's work with his permission. Enjoy !
"For me, it is all about HUMAN EMOTIONS, how to show them, how to explain something unexplained, human soul, human chaos, desires, loves, sorrows. It is the meaning of life for me as a photographer. Human face, especially eyes, hands, and gestures, are magical signs to human soul and heart. Melancho , mystery, surreal fantasy, and often somber physical presence are well recognized qualities of my work. I am after “pure form”, art that shows the mystery of existence. 
 I admire work of photographers of the XIX/XX Century, Photo-Secessionists and members of The New School of American Photography, e.g., Fred Holland Day, Edward Steichen, Gertrude Käsebier, Anne Brigman … and Modern Masters: Joel-Peter Witkin, McDermott & McGough, John Dugdale, Robert ParkeHarrison, Herb Ritts, Greg Gorman, and David Vance …
I am interested in historical and alternative processes in photography, especially unique Cyanotype prints, Palladium/Platinum prints, and Silver Gelatin prints".