Comin' At Ya!
The Homoerotic 3-D Photographs of Denny Denfield
Price: $31.95 CAD $27.95 USD
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About this book
An amazing collection of full-colour, sexually explicit 3-D photographs of men taken in the early 1950s by Denny Denfield, an amateur physique photographer in California who worked as an accountant for the US Army. Denfield's photographs, never distributed publicly given their illegality at the time, display a skill, wit, and daring rarely seen, and with their rich Kodachrome colours and mid-century decors, can now be appreciated for their rogueish, almost naïve charm.
The accompanying narrative by David L. Chapman, from whose own private collection these photographs appear, sheds fascinating light on Denfield's secret life and work (stereography had been invented in 1850, but the advent of a compact, easy-to-use 3-D camera in 1947 allowed amateurs like Denfield to produce their own). And a narrative by acclaimed Montreal writer and scholar Thomas Waugh (Lust Unearthed, Out/Lines, Gay Art: A Historic Collection) places Denfield's work in the historical context of homoerotic photography over the last century.
The 3-D photographs are comprised of dual images which "come alive" when viewed through the 3-D glasses, supplied with the book. Equal parts kitschy, informed, and sexy, Comin' at Ya! is a collection that is both fun and historically fascinating.
Comin' at Ya!
does away with the myth that the 1950s were boring. The enclosed glasses merge the dual pictures for maximum effect.
This resurrection of lost queer physique photography is a clever and rewarding blend of packaging and content.... The pictures are a voyeur's delight; the text by Chapman and Waugh give this book historical heft.
―Richard Labonte, Bookmarks
What's really fun and fascinating are the vintage pictures from the '50s by Denfield of men in swim trunks large enough to be diapers, or posing on craggy rocks in the nude.... The perfect coffee table book. .
Fun and entertaining.
―New Gay Travel Guide
Looking at [these photographs] in this new volume allows us to see precursors to the modern age of gay male pornography, but there is something more than that here: sheer beauty.... The true value of a book like this is that many of us have never been aware of the work of the photographer. Now we have a beautiful book which contains beautiful and exciting photographs that might have been lost to us forever.
(Eureka Springs, Arkansas)
An amazing collection of full-color, explicit 3-D photos of men.... Chapman and Waugh have rescued Denfield's art and brought it right into your living room.
―Out Front Colorado
A surprisingly classy book about an overlooked part of gay history, male physique modeling as a cover for gay erotica in the 1950s.... The naked men that fill each page are brought to startling life.... The photographs really are stunning. Their importance is discussed in the two essays, both of which prove to be enlightening, and provide a portrait of the private man behind the lens.
Viewed through 3-D glasses (each volume includes a sturdy pair), the photos and their impressive illusion of depth may prove titillating for many. Despite the allure, I found myself scrutinizing these strangers and the tableaus in which they stood, sprawled or reclined, wondering about the queer lives led in a bygone era.
Denfield's stereoviews - meant to be viewed through 3-D glasses, a sturdy plastic pair of which are provided with the book - don't just spontaneously step outside the sucked-in abs and strained muscles of physique pictorials into occasional messy, drunken hardcore. More successfully, they venture into atmospheric realms. This is especially the case in photos taken at Baker Beach and the nearby woods: rock formations and sun-dappled tree trunks and branches dramatically play off and sometimes even overshadow the human subjects. Furtiveness and a potent melancholic experience of the ephemeral are built into this adult version of the childhood ViewMaster experience.... Denfield's stereoview work might be richest when viewed as a light West Coast - with an emphasis on the coastal - answer to Alvin Baltrop's gay lib-era photos of the piers in New York. Both photographers took their vision to the literal edges of America.
―San Francisco Bay Guardian
This new book of photographs is remarkable in a number of ways.... That fifty years later, the subjects still have the powers to get the hormones flowing attests, perhaps, to the universality of male beauty and desire over time and place. But they also reveal a world so different from our own in style: that paradoxically straightlaced but voluptuous world of America in the 50s.
―Gay & Lesbian Review
In comparison with the erotic images so readily available today, the Denfield photos may appear tame and old-fashioned. Yet, for their time, they were amazingly bold and they still retain an air of titillation, the excitement of the forbidden. Comin' at Ya!
gathers together a series of colourful visual artifacts from our past.
One of the most esthetically curious and impressive titles I found was Comin' at Ya!
It's amazing that it exists, when you consider the risks that Denfield took shooting these pictures in the 1950s and 60s. And you can't help but revel in the social history captured here.
Our present favorite, by title and packaging alone, is Comin' at Ya!
, which includes 3-D glasses! The beefcake takes you back to the day of Farley Granger, Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter, and wild, wild parties in Malibu.