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#TBT: Hidden Love From the Early 20th Century

#TBT: Hidden Love From the Early 20th Century


These photos, once private and hidden, become tender, playful, moving images of same-sex love early in the last century.

French screenwriter and director Sebastien Lifshitz was inspired to assemble this moving and illuminating book of photographs by a chance encounter he had which delivered a photo album that belonged to two elderly women, "very bourgeois, very 'old France.'" It didn't take him long to realize that they were in a lifelong lesbian relationship.

Seeing vintage photo albums of happy gay and lesbian couples countered the cultural ideas of the times that same-sex attractions were sick or perverse. These photos showed complex and rich relationships in spite of how they were regarded by most of the world. Lifshitz launched a project to interview gay women and men born between the two World Wars, seeking to understand what life was like for them.

What is so apparent in the images is the uniqueness of each couple, that there is no one expression of LGBT love. The formation of the bond creates a third entity that holds the couple in a state of intimacy.

The Invisibles: Vintage Portraits of Love and Pride, published by Rizzoli, is available at









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