Queer Places:
Sturegatan 32, 114 36 Stockholm, Sweden

Carl von Platen (April 14, 1863 - February 27, 1929) was a Swedish photographer.

Born into a well-known Swedish family of minor nobility (the son of Carl Ludvig Gustaf von Platen (1824-1904) and Clara Virginia Hierta (1839-1863)) Von Platen's position allowed him to make photographs that were extremely homoerotic without fear of censure (even though it was seen as scandalous). Like Oscar Wilde, he preferred working-class youths or military men and documented them at rest, often in highly charged sexual scenarios. Many of these men were sexual partners, including Fredrik Moberg, who is depicted lounging on a sofa in Von Platen's salon in a state of casual undress (1902), surrounded by homoerotic paintings and photographs. Unlike Eugène Jansson's virile sportsmen (photographed naked in gymnasiums or bath houses). Von Platen's images were shot indoors in a makeshift studio made from hastily hung curtains in his home. Many depict men in drag, styled like Wilhelm von Gloeden's images either in classical drapery, Italian costumes or at rest. The casualness shown in the images belies the different social class of the sitters and the photographer, unusual in such a socially policed period.

Carl von Platen attended Uppsala university, graduating in 1882. In 1887 he was assistant professor at the National Museum and the Royal Library. He owned part of house no. 32 Sturegatan in Stockholm and a villa in Råsunda.

Charges of indecency brought Carl von Platen to the Stockholm City Court, based on the police investigation that took place on December 19, 1903. But earlier Carl von Platen's father declared to the Court that his son was mentally unbalanced, due to his homosexual inclination, therefore he had to be declared incapacitated. We do not know if the intention was to save his son from prison or his family from disgrace, but his action was successful. The family was spared being pilloried and Carl was released from Långholmen prison.

The fact that von Platen was declared disabled had no adverse effect on his upper-class lifestyle. After a stay in a psychiatric center, he continued his travels and his activity as a poet and writer. No other photographs are known other than those confiscated by the Stockholm police. However, von Platen was arrested by the police for the second time, 15 years later. This time in Malmö, when he tried to kiss a boy in the elevator of the Kramer hotel.

In 1898 Carl von Platen--signing with the ~seudonym "Anteros"- published his first review (from Rome) in Svensk musiktidning. Many similar followed: from Italy, primarily, but also from other European countries. Between 1898 and 1913 von Platen wrote ninety-eight letters with reviews of performances, some short biographies and general brief overviews of musical life in various cities. Little is know about von Platen except that he seems to have had private means and spent most of his time travelling on the continent collecting autographs and visiting opera houses, concert halls and theatres. He published a collection of his essays in three volumes as well as books on actors and ballet dancers.

When he died at the age of 66, he was still declared disabled.


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