Robert Giard’s groundbreaking images of 600 gay and lesbian writers reflect the flowering of LGBTQ2S+ literature in the final half of the 20th Century. Giard wanted to create a diverse and inclusive archive that spoke to the breadth and depth of writing that emerged during these years.
“Portraiture carries a moral responsibility,” Giard wrote. His initiative towards people and their environments sings out in dedication to the unexpected beauty of the ephemeral nature of our ever-changing world.
Nudes rarely allow for an embodiment of humor and poetry. Giard cared deeply about the spirit of the individual sitting for him and not just the pleasure of their form. Giard himself quoted Franz Kafka, “the act of description is an erotic art.”
The world is constructed by its details. To fully realize a narratives theme, structure, and body it takes the thoughtfulness of the grain of wood in a chair or the refraction of light on a beautiful glass plate. Giard’s still lifes allow for an array of metaphor and imagination in realizing the world we inhabit.
Giard’s landscapes embody a quiet hearted view of a seemingly abandoned Long Island where he lived. The lack of the human figure in these views ennobles the objects that occupy this peninsula and awaken a liberating contemplation on the land.
Buildings and streets can inspire the power of a place’s history, or commemorate shared traumas. Giard meditates on these immediate environments and allows their individualistic qualities of surface and atmosphere to emerge from the depths of these places and exposes them in his prints.
Through photographing the 321 recipients of The Thanks Be To Grandmother Winifred Foundation, Giard was able to embody this foundations core mission of encouraging woman aged 54+ to achieve goals that would enrich their lives. These portraits give a face to these woman and their lived experiences.
In reconciling a space between that which is humanist and that which is formalist Giard’s portraits triumph the reality of these subjects. The performance of a person and an identity course the frames of these images to help reveal the grace of being human.