Doug Ischar - At Large 1986

"In the summer of 1986, a young photographer shot hundreds of rolls of film documenting the pulsing rhythm of male bodies in the heat of the California sun. Moments of intimacy—a hand resting on a chest, bodies clasped in an embrace, lips parted for a kiss—reveal the sensuous pleasure of queer culture over a quarter century ago. 

"I wanted to create a fresh portrait of a largely undocumented subculture," Doug Ischar explains now. "The only images of gay men that existed at that time were staged studio compositions, for example the photographs of Robert Mapplethorpe or Arthur Tress. Photographs of gay men flirting, socializing, and cruising were few and far between. And that pissed me off." 

Currently on display at Night Club Gallery, Ischar's collection of photographs, entitled "At Large," reflects the rich tapestry of gay life in San Francisco, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Inspired by a long tradition of documentary photography established by Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and Robert Frank, Ischar was determined to chronicle what he believed to be the twilight of the gay culture. "I was an avid shooter," he says, "because, like a lot of people at that time, I was fearful that gay life as I knew it would be eclipsed by AIDS and right wing reaction. I was a man with a mission and wanted to commit to film as much as I could of what was going on." 

Equipped with the camera of all the great street photographers—a Leica Rangefinder—Ischar captured the colorful spectrum of gay life from Pride Parades to the Gay Games, originally known as the Gay Olympics. Shooting with a 35mm wide-angle lens required a proximity, both physical and emotional, to his subjects. "Gay guys didn't mind me photographing them, because I was a good-looking, well-built guy in a T-shirt, and I'm sure that got me a fair amount of access."


Hector Silva

"Hector Silva is a self-taught artist based in Los Angeles who has been producing work for more than twenty years. He is a very community-oriented person and was recently selected as one of ADELANTE’s twenty individuals who are among the most influential within the Gay and Lesbian Latino community due to his position as a role-model, innovative thinker, and leader in social change. Being raised in Jalisco, Mexico and now living in Los Angeles, Hector draws from the rich Latino/Chicano culture that has always surrounded him and incorporates it into his artwork. He pulls from the exposure he has had to public art, such as murals and graffiti, and appreciates the fact that it allows any person to interact with and admire it. Hector accredits religious iconography, Frida Kahlo, M.C. Escher, Tom of Finland and Chicano prison art as his primary influences. Exploring themes of cultural identity, Hector feels a responsibility to portray not only beauty, but truth in his artwork. Today, Hector’s work is collected internationally, receiving acclaim in the US and abroad."