What does it mean for two men to be together?
Two-by-two: Men in Pairs, offers 100 photos, most of them never before published, of pairs of New Zealand men sharing aspects of their lives. These images span the eighty years from 1880 to 1960, and were taken at work, at home, at leisure and in photographers' studios. An introductory essay explores the impact of social and technological changes on New Zealand men's relationships. I'm intrigued by the continuities as well as disconnections between modes of connection between men: what are the similarities, if any, between workmates, brothers, friends and intimate partners. While the essay discusses these issues, the photographs offer up their own stories. Sometimes their sitters' details are known, but often they aren't. Ultimately it is up to readers to interpret the images for themselves.
I have also played around with the idea of the book as object. This hand-crafted volume features black-and-white images, colour endpapers and is hard bound in black cloth by a crafts bookbinder. Photos, whether formally produced or casual snapshots, are aesthetic objects: so too is this book as their container and mode of display.
Read more on this project: www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/23/article_14075
Two-by-two: Men in Pairs can be ordered here: www.genrebooks.co.nz