Thursday, March 9, 2023


Our last unknown Al Urban model is a young man leaning 
on a column with a dreamy look on his face.



  1. It riles me to anger to think that a man of such talent ended his life as a near-recluse, living off welfare in California having served a prison term - all for circulating photographs which might not have been published but were NOT illegal to possess or distribute when he was born in 1917. The 1950s and '60s were vicious decades for gay men, in part as a reaction to the war, in ways that were not current in the 1920s or '30s - or even Victorian times. (Oscar Wilde was given notice of his pending arrest by the Metropolitan Police and told to get on the boat train to France to avoid prosecution under new, oppressive laws less than a decade old. His mother told him to stay and fight.) Homosexuality was legalized - partially, to consenting adults over the age of 21, in private, in 1967. I have always been grateful to have lived in a post-Stonewall world. I fear the barricades going up again... there is growing censorship and approval of such in a younger generation that seems to have scant appreciation for free speech and indulges levels of intolerance for difference that were the norm in the post-war world. This progress can be reversed. The Swan King, Ludwig II of Bavaria, was openly gay, it being fully lawful and legal under the Napoleonic in force in the Kingdom until its abolition in 1918. A generation later, Bavaria would become the centre of Nazi activity. We must be vigilant.

    This has been a beautiful, if poignant series, in honour of a decent, talented artist, who didn't deserve what he got.

    1. Thanks for your well informed and timely comment, Julian. I would only add that Mr. Urban was so tormented by the oppressive atmosphere that he actually posed with a baby in a published photo in the early 1950s, indicating that she was his daughter. As you know, I also am a keen genealogist, and there is no record of a birth of a child by that name anywhere near the time. Also, there is no record of Mr. Urban having married. We must always remain vigilant, lest our freedom disappear.

    2. I, too, see bad times ahead for us men who like men. I see fear and shame in locker rooms, I see bloggers being taken down, and a Republican-generated anti- homosexual hysteria being fomented. We really need to be on guard.

  2. I love the simplicity and subtlety of his photo.