The documentary film Hidden Master: The Legacy of George Platt Lynes! directed by Sam Shahid premiered recently in New York. It will be screening in Paris in November!
George Platt Lynes began his career photographing celebrities, and it’s those portraits along with his extravagant fashion work that he’s best remembered for today. However, George’s heart, his passion, and his greatest talent lay elsewhere, in his work with the male nude. This work, sensuous and radically explicit for its time, has only recently begun being fully discovered and appreciated for the revolution that it represents — a man capturing his fantasies as a gift, a window to a future his camera saw coming before anyone else.
From art director Sam Shahid, Hidden Master features a stunning collection of photography from the 1930s-50s, uncovering the life of Lynes less known: his gifted eye for the male form, his long-term friendships with Gertrude Stein and Alfred Kinsey, and his lasting influence as one of the first openly gay American artists.
George Platt Lynes was an artist endowed with an almost endless well of creative gifts. However, because of the restrictions – social, moral, artistic, legal – imposed upon him by the era in which he lived and created, he was unable to share his true talent with the public and, of equal import, future generations of artists who may have built upon and furthered his contributions to his genre and what should have been the accepted norms that oppressed so many of his generation. He was an artist, who was never able to share what he considered to be his very best work, and more importantly what he considered his true craft.
Though the LGBTQ+ community has made enormous strides since the early-mid twentieth century, those forces of oppression and shame still operate in the United States and in fact are gaining renewed traction within state and local legislatures. I want HIDDEN MASTER to serve as a platform to further Platt Lynes’ true legacy – the sharing of his stunning nude photographs with audiences and artists worldwide. This work, which countless artists and photographers that followed him have referenced, and in turn been influenced by, has yet to be accepted into the greater art community and placed in its proper context in the genre. The work deserves to be featured in a major museum exhibition and examined with proper analysis and reverence.
My hope, ultimately, is that the film generates further awareness and support among a wide variety of influencers, sponsors, and audiences to the continued forces that seek to oppress and silence our contributions to society and the arts. I think that the dual themes of our film – the reintroduction of George’s powerful artistic works to new generations of audiences as well as the continued defense of the rights of artists from ALL communities – aligns powerfully with the current conversation. This is my greatest hope, and I certainly think it would have been George’s as well.
Tickets for upcoming screenings can be found on the film’s website https://www.hiddenmasterfilm.com/
or Instagram @HiddenMasterFilm.