George Platt Lynes, “Yul Brynner”

George Platt Lynes, “Yul Brynner”, 1942 Photo Shoot, Silver Gelatin Prints

From the late 1920s until his death in 1955, George Platt Lynes was one of the world’s most successful commercial and fine art photographers.

In 1932, Lynes’s work was included in one of the first exhibitions to showcase photography at the Museum of Modern Art. He also showed at New York City’s extremely popular Julien Levy Gallery, which in the 1930s and 1940s was a major destination for Surrealistic art, photography, and experimental film. Lynes’s photographs for Vogue and Bazaar, his shots of dancers at the School of American Ballet and his portraits of some of the most important creative figures of his era were praised for their innovative use of lighting, props and posing.

George Platt Lynes felt that his most important body of work was his nude photographs of men; however, during Lynes’ lifetime, few people knew of their existence. Because of prevailing attitudes toward homosexuality, which included its criminalization and the passage of strict obscenity laws,  Lynes, who was a gay man, kept this influential and important body of work from public view. 

These photographs of the male form led to a friendship between Lynes and Dr. Alfred C. Kinsey, the founder of the Institute for Sex Research, now named Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute. Upon his death, Lynes gifted over 2,300 negatives and 600 photographs to the Institute for Sex Research.

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