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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.

Sponsor Message.

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

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literature >> Cavafy, C. P.

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    Bibliography
   

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.

www.orphanos.com

 

    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 www.glbtq.com/literature/orphanos_s_sylvester_lit.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2006, glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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