Mike Arlen in conversation with Peter Paul Hartnett at Gay Photographers Network, London
Mike Arlen is one of the rare surviving giants of English gay history of the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties. His features were an essential part of gay men’s photo magazines, the sort that were sold in a plain brown envelope because it was impossible to show the cover in public for fear of outing or provoking a homophobic attack. Mike Arlen is not his real name, it turns out Mike’s freedom as a photographer was based on his wide experience as a journalist and photographer for popular magazines for the female audience: She, Woman’s Own etc. Mike told us stories of his meetings with Bassey, Bowie, Elvis and many more. He conformed to the conventions of the time by never mentioning anything contentious in his showbiz reporting, so Rock Hudson was never stated to be gay until the end.
Jonathan Armour and Robert Taylor presenting Fugita, their collaboration resulting in a series of large works on paper exploring the complex dynamic of living in a mature yearning body.
Fugita is the exhibition of the work of Jonathan Armour’s and Robert Taylor’s collaboration; these life-sized images of a “mature yearning body” are presented on large sheets of art paper hung around the pillars of the chapel of Brompton Cemetery.
Jon’s practice has often included images made by applying pigments to the body of his model, then transferring this to the media in various ways. His sessions with Robert sound to have been messy fun and this energy comes through in the images. The collaboration must have been a particular fun for Robert, an accomplished portrait photographer, to make such effective images without the apparatus of professional photography.