It was not until after Sage Sohier had already began photographing same-sex couples that she would discover her own father was gay. Having left her mother when Sage was just a toddler, he had nearly married another woman before a string of young men followed.
Though he never admitted he was gay, Sage feels the photo project would serve as a way of connecting for the father and daughter and the young man with whom he would eventually share his life.
Her project began in 1986 at the height of the AIDS panic, when many feared contact of any kind would transmit the disease. These unfounded beliefs led Sage to contemplate how this affected the lives of homosexual men and women — not necessarily affected with the disease — in their day to day lives.
Sage began by going to afternoon “tea dances” in Provincetown, Mass., an enclave for the community in the northeast. She would not enter their homes or even bring her camera until a rapport had developed with the family. Through it, she watched as they raised their children, dealt with daily life, and confronted the AIDS epidemic — sometimes in their own home.
Sage’s photo project, “At Home With Themselves: Same-Sex Couples in 1980s America,” is showing now through November 2nd at the Blue Sky Gallery in Portland, Oregon.
Jean and Elaine. Sante Fe, NM. 1988.
Gordon and Jim, with Gordon’s mother, Margot. San Diego. 1987.
Pinky and Diane, with two of Diane’s eight children. Kenner, LA. 1988.
Trip and Alan. Key West, Fla. 1988.
Chris and Cris. Provincetown, Mass. 1986.
Doris and Debie, with Doris’ daughter, Junyette. Los Angeles. 1987.
Cindy and Barb’s wedding. Boston. 1986.
Bill and Ric, with Ric’s daughter Kate. San Francisco. 1987.
Stephanie and Monica. Boston. 1987.
David and Eric. Boston. 1986.
Lloyd and Joel. San Francisco. 1987.