George Platt-Lynes was born on April 15, 1907 in East Orange, New Jersey. But it is after his move to Paris in 1925, where he then met artists such as Réne Crevel, Man Ray, Gertrude Stein and others, that his artistic spark was originally ignited.
Inspired by the effervescent Paris of Cocteau and Bérard, Platt-Lynes returned to his native America to pursue a career as a fashion photographer (via a bookstore he opened in Englewood, New Jersey in 1927, in which he started privately exhibiting the pictures he had taken).
It was in America where he photographed images from mythology, or purely erotic scenes, which dealt explicitly with his homosexual tastes.
In the meantime, he began receiving commissions from Harper’s Bazaar, Town and Country, Vogue and other publications. In 1946, he became head of Vogue magazine’s west coast studio in Los Angeles and photographed celebrities such as Katharine Hepburn, Rosalind Russell, Gloria Swanson and Orson Welles among others. In 1948, Lynes returned to New York to focus on his own private interests, male nudes and documenting the New York City Ballet. He became acquainted with Dr. Alfred Kinsey, who was an influential researcher on human sexuality
“Platt-Lynes himself, ill with cancer and unable to sell his nudes except to Scandinavian physical culture magazines, had lapsed as a fashion figure and, finishing his days in southern California, steeped in the dreams which he had tried, so boldly and beautifully, to balance with the traditional camp of the twentieth-century aesthete“*
Lynes died in 1955, leaving an extensive portfolio of nudes and homoerotic photographic works to the Kinsey Institute.
*Philip Core, “Camp: The Lie That Tells the Truth“, 1984
By Matteo Sarti