A Hard Man is Good to Find!

Fri 03 Mar 2023 - Sun 11 Jun 2023

Last chance: closes Sunday!

Book spread of photo collages of two men. On the Right page the two men are laying down on a towel, on the left side they're standing, one with he's back towards the camera

A Hard Man is Good to Find!

Fri 03 Mar 2023 - Sun 11 Jun 2023

Last chance: closes Sunday!

This event is part of our Past Programme

This exhibition includes photographs showing nudity and sexually suggestive scenes. There is no age restriction for visitors to the exhibition. We are leaving the decision to visit to the discretion of parents, guardians and carers.

Enjoy it while it's hot.

- Wallpaper Magazine

A Hard Man is Good to Find! celebrates a clandestine visual culture of men’s bodies that emerged in the post-war period, during a time when making and distributing such images was a criminal offence.

Including work by John S. Barrington, Cecil Beaton, Guy Burch, Basil Clavering, Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Bill Green, David Gwinnutt, Angus McBean, Patrick Procktor, Ajamu X and many more.

Two men with their backs turned to the camera face a mirror

This exhibition highlights key areas of London which were a focus for men seeking out men to photograph. It maps out a territory of risk and possibility across Highgate, between Chelsea and Wellington Barracks, in Soho, Brixton, Portobello and Euston. 

Catalogues, print ordering sheets, personal albums, magazines and publications explore how these photographs were circulated, exchanged and shared.

While the 1955 Wolfenden Report and the 1967 Sexual Offences Act marked the partial decriminalisation of gay sexual activity, prompting gay liberation and the fight for social equality; any depiction of male nudity which suggested homosexuality remained subject to the 1857 Obscene Publications Act.

A Hard Man is Good to Find! is curated by Alistair O'Neill, professor of Fashion History and Theory at Central Saint Martins (University of the Arts London).

The exhibition will be on show alongside the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2023.

Whilst this is an exhibition of queer pictures, it is important to note that not all the photographers or models can be claimed as queer subjects. It also acknowledges that language evolves and while queer is employed today for its inclusivity, the reclaiming of the derogatory term can sit uneasily for the generation subjected to it; the term homosexual can be similarly problematic for a younger generation.

As a number of the works are historical documents, it has not been possible to identify all individuals represented in the exhibition. We welcome any amendments or additions.

With thanks to

Image of exhibition poster for A Hard Man is Good to Find!

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A Hard Man Is Good To Find! Exhibition Poster A2.

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