Platforms of (In)visibility for the Life and Work of George Platt Lynes
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis thesis examines the ways in which a culture of censorship—whether as a threat or as an action— shaped the life and work of American photographer, George Platt Lynes (1907-1955). Beginning in his late teens, Lynes became enmeshed in social circles composed of leading artists and art world professionals. These networks led to exhibition opportunities, kickstarting his career as a photographer. He rose to fame in the 1930s and 40s, widely recognized for his fashion and dance photographs that were published in magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar. Yet throughout his career, Lynes also photographed the male nude figure. These images were unpublishable at the time and only circulated among his group of close friends and romantic partners. Paradoxically, the more fame and attention Lynes and his fashion and dance photographs received, the more important it was that his nude studies remain hidden. Through examining his social networks and the places his work was displayed, published, and stored—both in his life and after his death—this thesis examines the multiple ways in which Lynes built the networks for his public career while navigating the ongoing threat of censorship for his extensive body of unseen images.
Degree ProgramGraduate College