Velvet Vision: The Story of James Bidgood

This film is currently in production and has been awarded a grant from the Peter Reed Foundation, NYSCA and the Jerome Foundation.
for more information contact Bart Everly

Velvet Vision is a sponsored project of the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). NYFA is a 501 (c) 3, tax exempt organization founded in 1971 to work with the arts community throughout New York State to develop and facilitate programs in all disciplines. NYFA will receive grants on behalf of Velvet Vision, ensure the use of grant funds in accordance with the grant agreements, and will provide program or financial reports as required. Please follow this link to support this project.

Velvet Vision is film about the photographer/director James Bidgood who shot in the early 1960’s. His beefcake photographs were unlike any other at the time, featuring elaborate fantasy scenarios drenched in lush color. His film ‘Pink Narcissus’ was shrouded in mystery upon its release having been credited to ‘Anonymous’. It was falsely attributed to Kenneth Anger and Andy Warhol, among others, until the 1980’s when it was revealed that it was the work of one man, James Bidgood. Jim received a grant from Creative Capital last year to shoot a new series of his homoerotic photographs. Velvet Vision follows him in the process of shooting again as well as delving into his past as window dresser, drag artist and costume designer.

“Bidgood suited the closeted, coded world of physique photography. The mystery surrounding his work – he only ever published under the ‘Les Folies des Hommes’ byline, and concealed the authorship of ‘Pink Narcissus’ – was entirely in keeping with this transitional cultural milieu. Many of his peers operated under pseudonyms, trying to keep one step ahead of the law, or juggling respectable careers with their profitable porn sideline. Many like Bidgood, stopped working just at the time when new freedoms made possible the things they had only previously hinted at.”
- Rupert Smith

“Considered lost for many years, ‘Pink Narcissus’ is an astounding discovery from an era when the veiled erotica of physique magazines and posing pouches was giving way to much more explicit legal representations of gay sexuality. The film is in one sense about this transition, an uneasy meeting place between the two. But it’s also an unwavering celebration of the male body in a fantasy world of epic indulgence.”
- Richard Kwietniowski

Bart Everly has been shooting Bidgood for the past year and a half, as well as gathering and documenting previously unseen work. Interviews with John Waters, Christian Louboutin, Jonathan Katz and others have been recently shot talking about the relevance and wonder of Bidgood and his work. Bidgood has recently shot again for Out Magazine, his first photographs in forty years, and is in the process of making props for at least three photographs of Christian Louboutin’s fantasy collection. He’s also trying to drum up interest in a musical comedy, and Everly has recorded Colton Ford recording one of the show’s songs. Shooting will be complete by fall and the film edited in the winter.

Everly’s last film ‘Let’s Get Frank’ opened at the Film Forum, played internationally in film festivals, is currently showing on Logo and is distributed by First Run Features. This new film will definitely appeal to the LGBT community but the beauty of Bidgood’s work and ‘hard knock’ life story translate universally.