You don’t need to be a participant at the Stonewall Riots or protesting Congress for equal rights to be considered a gay pioneer. Sometimes you just need to be present and unafraid to showcase your love.
A new documentary, ‘100 Years of Men in Love: The Accidental Collection,’ is giving viewers insight into relationships between men from the 1850s to the 1950s. Their romance stories are told through existing photographs, messages obtained through various means and secondhand information from direct relatives.
‘100 Years of Men in Love’ originally existed as a photo book from collectors Hugh Nini and Neal Treadwell. They started collecting images of suspected gay couples after finding a century-old photograph in an antique shop. As most collectors do, the pair began searching flea markets, shoe boxes, family archives, estate sales and suitcases in hopes of adding more evidence to show that gay relationships have always existed, albeit in the shadows.
Since then, Hugh and Neal have collected over 3,000 pieces of media. Some pieces not currently included in their photo book will appear in the documentary.
‘100 Years of Men in Love’ was then adapted from a book to an hour-long documentary by Emmy Award winning director David Millbern.
Millbern told the Bay Area Reporter:
I didn’t want this to be just a montage of photos. I wanted to really linger, and have the audience get the relevance of each shot, get the feel of each shot, fantasize about what it was like for this couple, the risks that were involved, the joy that was expressed. We really stand on the shoulders of these gentlemen that really went out on a limb to document their commitment and their love. They paved the way for us to be free and open, because they weren’t allowed to be free and open. They took the risk, they were so joyous that they wanted to memorialize their love in a picture.
‘100 Years of Men in Love: The Accidental Collection’ is now streaming for free and in its full entirety on Here.Tv.