The Kiss
© Dale Tanis
While learning silkscreen printing at the New England School of Photography in Boston, my instructor gave us the assignment to create a print that told something about ourselves. I knew Suzie was going to take a picture of herself and her teddy bear and Chuck was going to be standing by his car and Bob was going to be holding a hamburger. This thought horrified me. I wasn’t out to my classmates, so I knew immediately what I had to do. I asked my best friend if I could borrow his boyfriend for the photograph (he was the right height and had chest hair).

After the shot, I locked myself into one of the private darkrooms to make the separations. I waited until late at night on Friday to do the printing while everyone else was out partying. No one was going to see this until the critique.

The day of the critique arrived and, sure enough, Suzie had a picture of herself and her teddy bear. “Great,” the instructor said disinterestedly. “ Suzie likes teddy bears, but what does that tell me about Suzie? Nothing. Next?” Chuck standing by his car was next. And Bob holding a hamburger after that. All received the same treatment from the instructor. I felt ripped-off and said so. “Well!” said my classmates. “If yours is so good, let’s see it!” “I’m going last” I declared. There was many attempts to make me go next, but I refused. The rest of the class followed in the footsteps of Suzie, Chuck, and Bob. And all were quickly dismissed by the instructor.

Finally it was my turn. I got up from my seat, pinned the print on the board in front of the class, then turned around and looked each one of them in the eye before sitting down.

There was dead silence.

My instructor smiled for the first time that entire day.

Finally someone said, “That’s...that’s two MEN!!

“That’s right,” I said. “I’m gay.”

The print was an immediate hit and I was pressured (not against my will) to display it in the entry hall of the school. There was no way anyone who entered the school could avoid seeing it. All of my other classes wanted me to bring it for their critiques as well. The response was overwhelming and positive. I’m glad I did it.

Edition Size
No. of Prints No of Proofs No. of Screens Image Size Paper Size
115 16 16 13 1/2" x 16 3/4" 20" x 20 1/4"
Purchase Price:    $ 400
All prints are shipped flat with a Certificate of Authenticity and
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