glbtq: an encyclopedia of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender & queer culture
social sciences
special features
about glbtq


   member name
   Forgot Your Password?  
Not a Member Yet?  

  Advertising Opportunities
  Permissions & Licensing
  Terms of Service
  Privacy Policy






Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-B  C-E  F-L  M-Z

Orphanos, Stathis (b.1940), and Sylvester, Ralph (b.1934)  
page: 1  2  3  

Orphanos summarized his relations with straight men after he photographed over one thousand U.S. Marines in one day at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base. He posed each individual young man like an archaic Greek kouros (male youth; or, statue of a male youth): "There was a definite bond, and it was captured in the photographs. Kouroi are the same the world over."

Orphanos's Greek heritage is also reflected in the grouping of photographs he has made to allude to works by the modern Greek poet, C.P. Cavafy. The photographs were not taken with Cavafy in mind and represent several decades of Orphanos's work, but in retrospect they fit the inspiration of both the Greek poet of earlier decades and the present-day Greek-American photographer.

Orphanos has shown his works in Cavafy groupings at the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles, in 2003, as well as on his website. An enlarged group with the title, My Cavafy: Chance Encounters, is to be published in the fall of 2006.

In these groupings, the photographer's subjects--nude male figures, young Greek sailors in uniform, even his self portrait--gain meaning when juxtaposed with Cavafy poems of similar content and theme. Cavafy's work, in essence a poetry of history and memory, is extended through photography, a medium that largely expresses time. For Cavafy's recall of young men's physical forms, as in "Remember, Oh Body," Orphanos pairs a frontal nude torso. For Cavafy's recall of the emotion of young men's loves, as in "That They Come," the photographer sets a scene. He uses the full form of a recumbent male nude looking at the flat figure of another male through a scrim at the window to depict the memory of "shades of love."

The most recent product of Sylvester & Orphanos as publishers, the tribute to Tsarouchis, is fittingly complex. It reproduces a portfolio of thirty-six color plates and a portfolio of text from and signed by twenty-five contributors. The portfolios and box feature two original silk screens designed by Tsarouchis. Tributes to the painter are offered by friends and colleagues ranging from Greek Renaissance figures such as Melina Mercouri, Manos Hadjidakis, and Mikis Theodorakis to the French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson. Notable glbtq admirers of Tsarouchis, such as Paul Cadmus, David Hockney, Horst, and Sir Stephen Spender, also wrote essays.

Surely one of the most beautiful modern books ever printed, it is at once a tribute to a great artist and itself a masterpiece of the printer's art.

The project is a stunning accomplishment of two men who have lived and worked together for over forty-five years, a prime example of gay partners' collaboration, reminiscent of that of Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon.

Orphanos's photography is an art of mature accomplishment, but it celebrates beginnings, like an Easter season of spring that is more important in Greece than elsewhere. It celebrates the homosocial bonding of straight and gay men working together. It celebrates the challenge of different stages of work, and the difficulty of each day's new work: finding the sitter, arranging the sitting, composing and taking the shot, and, most of all, doing work alone in the darkroom where the images emerge from the vision and control of the photographer himself.

Dan Luckenbill

  <previous page   page: 1  2  3    

Contact Us
Join the Discussion
Related Entries
More Entries by this contributor
A Bibliography on this Topic

Citation Information
More Entries about The Arts

   Related Entries
arts >> Overview:  Photography: Gay Male, Post-Stonewall

Post-Stonewall gay male photography merits recognition for its contribution to fine art, documentation, photo-journalism, and advertising, as well as erotica.

arts >> Bachardy, Don

American artist Don Bachardy, the long-time companion of novelist Christopher Isherwood, has achieved renown in his own right for his nudes and celebrity portraits, which honestly convey the personalities of his sitters.

arts >> Cadmus, Paul

American painter Paul Cadmus is best known for the satiric innocence of his frequently censored paintings of burly men in skin-tight clothes, but he also created works that celebrate same-sex domesticity.

literature >> Cavafy, C. P.

Alexandrian Greek poet C. P. Cavafy has written some of the greatest homoerotic poems of all time.

literature >> Cheever, John

John Cheever, who was bisexual, gradually came to invest homosexuality with redemptive and transforming powers.

arts >> Hockney, David

One of the liveliest and most versatile visual artists of his generation, David Hockney not only has helped break down resistance to the erotic gaze directed at the male body but also has presented gay male couples in domestic--rather than sensational or sexual--images.

arts >> Horst, Horst P.

German-born American photographer Horst P. Horst, known most widely as simply "Horst," created some of the most memorable images of the mid-twentieth century.

literature >> Isherwood, Christopher

A major Anglo-American novelist and a pioneer in the gay liberation movement, Christopher Isherwood created gay characters whose homosexuality is a simple given, an integral part of the wholeness of personality and an emblem of their common humanity.

literature >> Merrill, James

James Merrill's significance as a gay writer lies in his deliberate use of a personal relationship to fuel his poetry.

literature >> Price, Reynolds

Although they do not treat gay themes at length, the poems and novels of Reynolds Price often reflect homoerotic and homosocial male relationships.

arts >> Ricketts, Charles (1866-1931), and Charles Shannon (1863-1937)

Versatile British artists Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon were partners in life as well as in art; while pursuing independent careers, they also collaborated on a number of creative projects, including book design.

literature >> Spender, Sir Stephen

In his poetry and his autobiography, Stephen Spender wrote about his homosexual experiences in his early life.

arts >> Tsarouchis, Yannis

A deeply sensual painter, Greek artist Yannis Tsarouchis filled his canvases with homoerotic images of vulnerable men and (to a much lesser extent) strong women.

literature >> Vidal, Gore

The multifaceted Gore Vidal is important in the gay literary heritage because of the straightforwardness with which he pursued gay themes and included gay characters in his work.

arts >> Wheeler, Monroe

Publisher, book designer, and museum director, Monroe Wheeler was a leading figure in New York artistic and gay communities of the 1950s and 1960s, alongside his partner of sixty-eight years, the writer Glenway Wescott. 

literature >> Williams, Tennessee

Conflicted over his own sexuality, Tennessee Williams wrote directly about homosexuality only in his short stories, his poetry, and his late plays.


Luckenbill, Dan. Sylvester & Orphanos: Catalog of an Exhibit October-December 1990. Los Angeles: Department of Special Collections, University Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles, 1990.

_____. "Young Men Love To Be Photographed: An Interview with Greek American Photographer Stathis Orphanos." Los Angeles, 2003. Dan Luckenbill Papers (Collection 1484). Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.

Orphanos, Stathis. My Cavafy: Chance Encounters. Los Angeles: Sylvester & Orphanos, 2006.

Price, Reynolds. Letter to Stathis Orphanos (photocopy). Durham, North Carolina, April 6, 1986. UCLA Library Department of Special Collections Exhibition Records (Record Series 439). University Archives, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.


    Citation Information
    Author: Luckenbill, Dan  
    Entry Title: Orphanos, Stathis , and Sylvester, Ralph  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2006  
    Date Last Updated February 11, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2006, glbtq, Inc.  


This Entry Copyright © 2006, glbtq, Inc. is produced by glbtq, Inc., 1130 West Adams Street, Chicago, IL   60607 glbtq™ and its logo are trademarks of glbtq, Inc.
This site and its contents Copyright © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.
Your use of this site indicates that you accept its Terms of Service.