Shifting masculinities in a building boom: Some portraits of men in Vancouver in the summer of 1998

Self-portrait near False Creek Vancouver July 1998 photograph by Gordon Brent Ingram

Dan Gawthrop in Vancouver’s Chinatown, at Pender and Carroll, in the summer of 1998

The nineteen nineties saw the most rapid construction, a beginning of a normalization in modern history, of the ‘gay’ or ‘queer’ male identity. Other periods in the twentieth century saw more conflict, and pain, and far fewer social gains. The men in these photographs were all individuals who in 1998 were reflecting carefully on the pain of their pasts and the new opportunities of being ‘gay’ or ‘queer’ and, in particular, in being better able to construct their lives, rather than simply adapt to or resist a limited set of public identities.

Ryan and Ryan who had just moved into the recently opened Railtown Studios in late August 1998, Vancouver, photograph by Gordon Brent Ingram

The nineteen nineties also saw the beginning of the most extensive and extended construction boom in Vancouver’s history. So as these men were exploring how to remake their lives, through to new possibilities and options from better political organization, still constrained human rights protections, and growing cultural tolerance, much of the first century of Vancouver was being obliterated and reconstructed in the most far-reaching process of globalization ever before seen here.

Exposure were with found urban light requiring the subjects to stay still for up to several minutes. The inevitable movements created small blurs that were intentionally painterly. These portraits involved considerable discussion with each individual about how they would like to portray themselves. To some extent their choice of sites and poses paralleled shifts in their personal lives, away from identities defined primarily as activists and sexual outlaws, to personal statements defined by more nuanced and personal desires, and dreams, as well as relationships to Vancouver, The Terminal City.

Michael Morris on False Creek in Yaletown in the summer of 1998, Vancouver

Joe Sarahan, near East Hastings east of Victoria Drive, Vancouver, August 1998 photograph by Gordon Brent Ingram

Peter Coomb near Vancouver’s English Bay,  August 1998 –  photograph by Gordon Brent Ingram

Ryan & Ryan, roof of Railtown Studios in Gastown, 321 Railway Street, Vancouver, August 1998 #1 – photograph by Gordon Brent Ingram

Ryan & Ryan, roof of Railtown Studios in Gastown, 321 Railway Street, Vancouver, August 1998 #2 – photograph by Gordon Brent Ingram

Ryan & Ryan, roof of Railtown Studios in Gastown, 321 Railway Street, Vancouver, August 1998 #3 – photograph by Gordon Brent Ingram

Ryan & Ryan, roof of Railtown Studios in Gastown, 321 Railway Street, Vancouver, August 1998 #4 – photograph by Gordon Brent Ingram

Don Hann behind the bar Numbers on Davie in the West End of Vancouver, August, 1998 photography by Gordon Brent Ingram

Walter Lister, on Vancouver’s False Creek, July 1998 – photograph by Gordon Brent Ingram

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Self-portrait: Vancouver in a building boom

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Peter Christian Combe in Vancouver during the summer of 1998

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John Grube, Toronto, 1997

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Ben Chin in Vancouver’s Yaletown, July 1996

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Fred Wasserman in Lower Manhattan, New York, April 1995

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Eric Estuar Reyes at The Abbey in West Hollywood

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Jean-Ulrick Désert in Los Angeles, March 1995

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Sean & Graham at English Bay in Vancouver, July 1994 (1) by Gordon Brent Ingram (small)

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Greg Galves & Michael Immel at home in San Francisco, June 1994

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