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Hal Fischer: The Gay Seventies

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...[Fischer] joyously celebrated the exquisite ecstasy of the male form....reveled in the outlaw spirit of the 1970s, capturing all the delicious decadence and joy de vivre at the dawn of the Gay Liberation Movement in the innocent, free spirited years before the devastating advent of AIDS.

street photography married to a “gay semiotics of the Castro.”

[The Gay Seventires features] Gay Semiotics, a landmark series of photo-text works providing a pioneering analysis of gay historical vernacular as it unfolded on the streets of San Francisco’s Castro and Haight-Asbury districts.
*AnOther Man*

"While Gay Semiotics is likely his best-known work, The Gay Seventies proves it was not an outlier in Fischer’s practice…. in Boy-Friends, portraits of what can only be Fischer’s sexual partners (their eyes covered with identity-concealing black bars) get sorted into a coded, highly personal classification system, with Fischer describing the beginning and end of each relationship…. In each of six series included in The Gay Seventies Fischer reveals slivers of himself (and his desires), while maintaining a documentary distance from his subject matter and a crisp visual style—a feat in the context of the massive social, political and demographic shifts that took place in 1970s San Francisco."

"In 'Gay Semiotics' and other works by Fischer, the use of text, diagrams and social decoding of the images feels extremely contemporary in the world of blogs and photo-diagram magazine features. Even many of the fashions and hairstyles — especially the mustaches — feel of the present moment. What surprised many at the time, Fischer says, was that his text imbued the images with a type of humor, simply by explaining the images and their social relevance in the gay community. For him, the words were always as important as the images, and perhaps became even more important as the photo books progressed."
*San Francisco Chronicle*

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