The Amorous Triangle: Queer Orientations in the Photography of George Platt Lynes and PaJaMa
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This thesis takes as its central subject the queer qualities and re-orienting capabilities of the photographs of George Platt Lynes and PaJaMa, particularly regarding how the images resist binary conceptions of sexuality and coupledom. The introductory chapter explores the historical foundations of modern monogamy and heteronormativity and demonstrates how the photographs of Lynes and PaJaMa, which range in date from the 1930s to the mid-1950s, emerged at a time when binarized notions of homosexuality/heterosexuality and singleness/coupledom were beginning to more forcefully take root in the United States. Chapter 1 focuses on how Lynes and PaJaMa were both involved in tripartite relationships, a fact that deeply informed a logic of triplicity that undergirds the expanse of the art of both sets of artists. Chapter 2 sets these photographs amidst the broader theory and history of photography and deploys notions of a queer phenomenology in order to assess how Lynes and PaJaMa, through their photographs, beckon and queer their spectator, enveloping them into affective relation with the same polyqueer orientations the photographs depict. In the end, this thesis asserts that the legacy of the photographic oeuvres of Lynes and PaJaMa are not just the remarkable ways in which they capture a queer world, but of the profound means by which the artists, through these photographs, sought to build one.