Hidden Glances

Michael Young

2021 - Ongoing

New York, United States

Hidden Glances is a series of photographs made from vintage gay pornography calendars published when I was beginning to recognize my sexuality as a youth until I came out in 2000. Before then, I skirted mention of my sexuality by hiding behind my studies, feigning interest in girls, and making failed attempts to fit in with the rest of the boys.

Calendars chronicle and mark time. In this work, they represent the long period in my life when others assumed I was straight, or I was told that being gay was wrong. Ironically, the men in these calendars portray sexualized heterosexual archetypes that many in the gay community have appropriated. These "manly" men that society was trying to train me to become ultimately became the men I longed to look at and galvanized my true identity.

Each image is made by hand cutting a figure from his scene, layering him over another month’s image, and then re-photographing the new composition. By eliminating the presence of exposed skin in the top layer, one muscular silhouette becomes a window that both reveals and conceals to create tension between the two layers. Ultimately through the lack of depth, I am creating visual compressions of all those years when I wanted to look at other guys and could only risk taking quick glimpses because I was afraid that my gaze would linger too long and expose my homosexuality.

Whether ultimately shown as a book, or framed and hanging on a wall, the work is designed to live in a more public space that invites the viewer to connect to the idea of their own personal secrets, and experience the internal conflict and ultimate resolution that one feels once finally sharing their story.

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  • Out on the Range, January

  • California Highway Patrol,

  • Leather on Leather, February

  • Reclining Cowboy, March

  • Boots and Benches, August

  • Black Sand Beach, July

  • Stripes, a Tank and a Towel, June

  • Hard Day at Work, September

  • Come Sit Next to Me, June

  • Poolside, May

  • Your Shirt Doesn't Keep Me Warm, October

  • Leather Is Forever, November

  • Sunbathing, July

  • Hello Officer, April

  • Behind the Backdrop, April

  • Pink Speedo, January

  • Peering Through Paper, June

  • Three Guys, August

  • The Alps, December

  • Crown of Bougainvillea, October