Mel Roberts’ work is distinguished by his interest in fashion styles and cultural trends as well as his use of natural “everyday” young men as models. Here, Roberts captures a historic moment: the Gay Pride Parade in 1979 marks a 10-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots and also is the 9th annual Gay Parade held in Los Angeles (along with New York). Prior to 1979, the LA parade was held on Hollywood Boulevard but due to the tense relationship with the Los Angeles Police, the parade was moved to the unincorporated portion of Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood.

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About Mel Roberts

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Mel Roberts (1923-2007) was an American photographer and activist who captured the spirit of California Dream that lured thousands of gay men to the Golden State in search of freedom and opportunity after the second world war. Unlike other physique photographers, Roberts’ subjects were not the perfectly proportioned bodybuilders, hustlers, or professional models common in the magazines of the time. His models were natural “everyday” young men who Roberts, first and foremost, had to know personally before photographing. The visual freedom expressed by Roberts, as an openly gay man in a time of oblique censorship, has highly inspired a tolerance for homoerotic portraiture.

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Gay Pride Parade, West Hollywood, 1979
Lot Number 9
Cibachrome print
Image: 18.5 x 23 in (46.99 x 58.42 cm)
Sheet: 20 x 24 in (50.8 x 60.96 cm)
Edition of 50
Signed and numbered in the margin on lower right, recto; titled and dated in the margin on lower left, recto

Online bidding for this work ended on June 25, 2018 at 1:08pm ET.

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Mel Roberts
Gay Pride Parade, West Hollywood