Book REVIEW: Lovers Ten Years on Sunil Gupta

January 2, 2021

Lovers Ten Years on

Sunil Gupta

Sunil Gupta’s Lovers: Ten Years On is a  series of black and white portraits of gay couples from London taken in the 1980’s. Some in the Tate. Gupta’s own ten-year relationship ended he decided to document the long-term gay relationships he encountered and the changing sensibilities of the social environment he found himself a part of, after he arrived in London in 1984. He had met his lover in the early 1970’s when the impact of the gay movement upon the consciousness of gay men was just gaining ground.

Then, gay was good, and gay was proud. The laws against gay sex had been turned back. The definition of homosexuality as a psychiatric disorder was successfully challenged. The commercial scene and the visibility of gay men expanded to unprecedented levels. Although, while all this change provided the individual with the means for unstigmatised sexual experimentation in relatively safe venues, simultaneously it hardly dented social attitudes and legal structures which oppressed gay relationships.

Born in New Delhi, India, relocated to Montreal, Canada, before studying at the Royal College of Art in London, Gupta has been using photography as a critical practice since the 1970s.¬† Subversive, impulsive, personal and political, Sunil Gupta’s socially engaged projects have focused on such issues as family, race, migration and the complexities and taboos of sexuality and LGBTQ+ life.

This beautifully crafted monochrome book, which is an artwork in itself captures a real feeling of the domestic sensibilities of being a gay man in the 80‚Äôs, and being in a partnership whilst exploring the complex relationships a photographer has with his subjects. ¬†We are presented with these intimate black and white portraits, filled with carefully presented context, clear direct gaze from the subject couples and allowed to be sill and ‘read’ ¬†the decade of their togetherness.

For all it’s apparent simplicity, it’s a richly complex book and a great addition to the collection of discerning gay gents.

Out now Р£35

For more info or to order see the publishers website