elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,
elisa_rolle
elisa_rolle

Ralph Sylvester & Stathis Orphanos

Ralph Sylvester and Stathis Orphanos, booksellers and publishers operating as Sylvester & Orphanos, are partners in life as well as in business. They are best known for their beautiful, meticulously executed books, which are avidly collected by lovers of fine printing.

Their first book was a sumptuous edition of Christopher Isherwood's Christopher and His Kind, issued in 1976. The next twenty-three books were printed letterpress in southern California, and their most recent, printed letterpress in Greece in 2004, is devoted to the work of the gay modern Greek artist Yannis Tsarouchis.

Among the authors and contributors to the books published by Sylvester & Orphanos are many gay writers, artists, and composers.

In addition to being a bookseller and publisher, Stathis Orphanos is a writer and photographer, with distinct accomplishments in each of these four areas, which in his life have been interrelated. His photographs of numerous writers and artists include images of several who are gay. His male nudes and figure studies capture and appeal to gay men's desire.

The bulk of Orphanos's photography is portraits and includes images of his friends and mentors Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy, as well as such distinguished figures as Claire Bloom, Paul Cadmus, David Hockney, Horst (Horst P. Horst), Graham Greene, and Julie Harris, among more than a hundred others. His photographs of young males, especially athletes and military men, have been filtered both by his gay sensibility and by his Greek heritage; they reveal the influence of a long tradition of male nudity in Greek statuary and vase painting.






With Yannis Tsarouchis
Ralph Sylvester and Stathis Orphanos, booksellers and publishers operating as Sylvester & Orphanos, are partners in life as well as in business. They are best known for their beautiful, meticulously executed books, which are avidly collected by lovers of fine printing. Sylvester and Orphanos met in 1960 in Los Angeles, where they continue to live. They now reside below the Hollywood sign in the Beachwood Canyon area of the city and also own a home in San Marcos, California.































Ralph Sylvester was born January 13, 1934, in Derry, Pennsylvania, of Italian descent. He came to California in 1956 when he was in the army and stationed at Fort Ord.

Stathis Orphanos was born October 12, 1940, in Greensboro, North Carolina, of Greek parents, both from the island of Samos. He was raised in Greece when trapped there by the outbreak of the civil war, which was fought between 1946 and 1949. He then attended Cheshire Academy, Connecticut, where he was exposed to same-sex romantic encounters.

In 1959 he attended Denison University, where he had his first serious affair. He then came to California and in the early 1960s attended California State College (now University), Los Angeles. Among his classes was one taught by Dorothy Parker. She praised both his photographs and his written sketches about Greece, but said, "You'll have to choose, honey, between photography and writing."

Sylvester and Orphanos met in 1960 in Los Angeles, where they continue to live. They now reside below the Hollywood sign in the Beachwood Canyon area of the city and also own a home in San Marcos, California. Orphanos also maintains family properties in Vathy, Samos, and now visits there annually.

The Sylvester & Orphanos bookselling business specializes in modern first editions of writers whose works have particularly interested Orphanos.

The publishing side of the Sylvester & Orphanos enterprise began with the memoir by Isherwood and has continued with works by writers such as John Cheever, James Merrill, and Gore Vidal.

These signed limited editions include work by two writers later to win the Nobel Prize for literature, Nadine Gordimer and V.S. Naipaul. Nobel laureate Odysseus Elytis contributed an essay to the volume on Tsarouchis.

Los Angeles illustrators, printers, and binders were used for all of the books except the Tsarouchis volume. Sylvester and Orphanos collaborate on the design of the bindings, with careful choice of cloth, cover papers, and blind stamping to complement the texts themselves.

There is gay content in the bawdy innuendo in Tennessee Williams's It Happened the Day the Sun Rose, set in Tangier, and in an episode in John Cheever's The Leaves, The Lion-fish, and the Bear.

Orphanos's photography of famous persons--mostly from the world of literature, art, theater, and film--began with his portrait of Isherwood in 1972, followed by more than a hundred others, starting in 1981. Many examples of these and his other works are found on www.glbtq.com and on Orphanos's own website, www.orphanos.com.

Orphanos observes that photography has given him the most rewards, both as work itself and as a means of meeting so many noted persons. His celebrity subjects have been primarily in the arts, and include Erskine Caldwell, Norman Mailer, and Sir Stephen Spender, as well as Nobel laureates Elytis and Naguib Mahfouz. He has also photographed many gay icons such as Mamie Van Doren and Lizabeth Scott.

Citation Information
Author: Luckenbill, Dan
Entry Title: Orphanos, Stathis , and Sylvester, Ralph
General Editor: Claude J. Summers
Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Culture
Publication Date: 2006
Date Last Updated February 11, 2006
Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/orphanos_s_sylvester_r.html
Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL 60607
Today's Date January 13, 2014
Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.
Entry Copyright © 2006, glbtq, Inc.

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=elimyrevandra-20
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=elimyrevandra-20

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher


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