I am always surprised to discover that gay men are not a recent invention. Yes, I know dudes have been rumored to have loved one another at least as far back as 350 B.C.E. -- evidently, that Alexander the Great was hot, hot, hot! -- but most of the surviving documentary evidence places the earliest homo Homo sapiens circa 1970. ---
Of course, it's all due to a quirk of history. The confluence of the post-Stonewall gay-rights movement and the ubiquity of cheap, good-quality, Asian-imported camera equipment meant that the first time a whole bunch of really gay men got really, really photographed was in the 1970s. Kodachrome gave us those nice, bright colors and made us think the world's a sunny day, oh yeah. Later on, we got videoed. Extensively videoed. First in Beta, then in VHS. And not always in the most dignified situations, as any viewer of the Joe Gage oeuvre (including such classics as Heatstroke and Cell Block #9) can attest.
There is a lot of photographic material depicting men who are willing to hold hands with other men -- or even go further. The preponderance of photos depict swarthy, mustachioed guys from that late-20th-century Golden Age. But there are people who collect vintage images from a more innocent (or at least a more homophobic) time.
When we see photos of gay men from earlier, pre-Castro Clone eras, it comes as something of a shock. Here is a beautifully produced photo montage of such photo portraits. I cannot guarantee that every one of them depicts an actual, bona-fide, historical gay couple -- some of them could be war buddies, or just good friends -- but many of them are unmistakably gay. And they give me a happy feeling.
Brandon's Big Gay Blog