chicago

Doug Ischar

Golden

Only the outdated logo on a can of Cherry Coke and a few large boom boxes indicate that Doug Ischar’s photographs date from the mid-1980s. The striped kneesocks, polo shirts, and large aviator sunglasses clothing a dense population of sun-kissed gay males lying on the limestone and concrete blocks lining an urban lake could suggest a contemporary scene. But the photographs—exhibited here for the first time—were taken during the summer of 1985, with a 35-mm camera fitted with a short-range lens. Touching upon the long tradition of documentary photography, they chronicle Chicago’s now-defunct public gathering place known as the Belmont Rocks.

The collection of lavish pictures, titled “Marginal Waters,” teems with beautiful young men. And unlike the documentary photographs of, say, Garry Winogrand or Lee Friedlander, the images are not overly concerned with context. Most are cropped close,

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