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November 7, 2019 | 12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Category: Lecture
Location: Faculty/Administration #2339 | Map
656 W. Kirby
Detroit, MI 48202
Cost: Free
Audience: Academic Staff, Alumni, Community, Current Graduate Students, Current Undergraduate Students, Faculty

The Humanities Center is proud to present as a part of its Brown Bag Colloquium Series, a talk by Renee Hoogland, English, Professor.


 This paper explores the paradox of photography and the complex power of exposure in relation to shifting temporalities, which, ultimately, I propose, inscribe the irreducible connection of both with (questions of) life and death. My reflections are organized around Tom Bianchi’s Fire Island Pines Polaroids 1975-1983 (2013). A unique collection of images of (predominantly white) gay young men, playing, loving, and being happy under, in Edmund White’s words, “an earthy paradise … under an eternally cloudless sky,” these photographs, in theatrical Polaroid color-schemes, impose the complexity of exposure in multiple, poignant ways. First, gay men exposing themselves as such to the camera, comfortably, if not defiantly. Second, the sight of beautifully ripped, buff, and (half-naked) male bodies inscribing a reality of “gay happiness” that straight society had not yet been exposed to—and would not till decades later. And finally, our exposure to these images, taken just before the aids-crisis would render all inscriptions of gay life quite literally an exposure to death. The question, then, remains, how does temporality shift the terms of exposure, and how does photographic, visual exposure itself become an inscription of precisely the tension between life and death? 

These talks are free and open to the public! We also provide free coffee, tea, and cake!

For more information about this event, please contact Humanties Center at 313-577-5471 or