Nobody Knows That You Are Gay

Imagining a queer archive

Robyn Day
All images courtesy Robyn Day and Elizabeth Houston Gallery

In Nobody Knows That You Are Gay, photographer Robyn Day conjures an “imagined archive” of queer visual history. Her work defies easy classification: it is part documentary, in the mode of the 1950s Fire Island party photographs in the Cherry Grove Archives Collection, and part rhapsodic study, redolent of the work of Minor White. These manipulated images speak to the art of making rather than taking photographs. The result is a collection of small monuments to the breadth of gay experience.

Day writes, “The aesthetic effects are meant to emulate queer history—personal stories both lost to time and timeless. Unable to be dated, the images are seemingly discarded only to be rediscovered and reinterpreted.” The act of assembling an archive, she says, becomes “the creation of a performative identity that has long been denied or hidden from view.”

Eugenia Bell

Robyn Day is a Chicago-based photographer, freelance writer at Photograph Magazine, and former arts critic at Art New England and The ARTery at WBUR, Boston's NPR station.
Originally published:
June 1, 2022


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