Hal Fischer | Gay Semiotics | 1977/2014 08.05. – 07.06.2015 | Fotomuseum Winterthur


“Archetypal Media Image: Classical”, inkjet print, 1977/2014 © Hal Fischer
“Archetypal Media Image: Urbane”, inkjet print, 1977/2014 © Hal Fischer

In 1977, Hal Fischer produced his photo-text project Gay Semiotics, first as a series of silver gelatin prints and then as a book published by NFS Press. The project explored the growing visibility of the male gay community in the Castro district of San Francisco, particularly its street style and so-called ‘hanky codes’ indicating different sexual preferences. Fisher’s series was one of the earliest attempts to explore a queer semiotics, offering a playful engagement with male self-fashioning and archetypes. Gay Semiotics is both a marker of the self-confidence and creativity of the San Francisco gay community before the emergence of HIV/AIDS and an important contribution to West Coast conceptual photography.