I was in my teens when I realised the man living with my Uncle was his lover. They shared a bed and hosted gatherings, but within the family their love was invisibilised. I never had to confront the truth of two men in love, which older family members viewed through a prism of distaste, embarrassment and slow cooking homophobia, typical of the 60’s and 70’s. They were the holders of family lore, where fact was whispered and lost amongst raised voices.

When my Uncle died, I was determined to salvage evidence of their love and give posthumous respect to their resilience. His suitcase-full of treasured items and a couple hundred slides of visits to Capri, Venice and other 60’s-tinted locations revealed two men wearing gold bands on their second finger left hand. Eyes, mouths, carefully placed hands and a leaning-in revealed intimacy amidst the hetero-holiday crowds they were part of, and apart from.

A tiny diary “The Tennyson Birthday Book” contained exquisite extracts, some of which seemed to echo my Uncle’s utterances of love, never heard, but which found their way into the project. A typed extract of Bennett's hymn seemed to provide the point of departure.

As a photographer I wanted to get to the soul of their relationship, to give truth to what they were to each other. The process of going through holiday slides was beautiful and allowed me to understand the joy of their togetherness, despite the suffocations of that era. They made the photographs- tentative representations of what they were to each other without the explicit. I felt guided to crop and re-focus- an aesthetic process led by a need to highlight their truth whilst respecting  their privacy. Although the images will fade, this is my attempt to convey their happiness. My aim for this project is simple- to evidence a love.

Go to him, it is thy duty

Take his hand in thine...

My first, last love

The idol of my youth

The darling of my manhood.

In the sweet by and by,

We shall meet on that beautiful shore

(hymn Sanford F Bennett)

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