IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE W.O.II, HOMOSEXUALITY WAS NOT ONLY ILLEGAL IN THE UNITED KINGDOM, IT WAS ALSO ACTIVELY PROSECUTED. ESPECIALLY IN LONDON. THE LEGAL MATTER DIDN’T GET SETTLED UNTIL 1967, BUT IT WAS MOSTLY DURING THE LATE 1940’S AND ALL THROUGH THE 50’S THAT GAY MEN AND WOMEN WERE AT RISK FOR IMPRISONMENT. BRITISH-CANADIAN PETER WILDEBLOOD WAS ONE OF THEM.
In the summer of 1953, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu offered Peter Wildeblood, journalist, novelist, playwright and active gay rights campaigner, the use of a beach hut near his estate. Wildeblood accepted the generous offer and spent, together with 2 RAF service men, among them his lover Corporal Edward McNally, and Montagu’s cousin Michael Pitt-Rivers, an entertaining few days. Having been under suspicion of indecent behavior already, Wildeblood and his companions were arrested in January 1954 and sentenced to prison.
Peter Wildeblood spent 12 months in prison for conspiracy to incite certain male persons to commit serious offences with male persons. A period he used to collect observations that he grouped and used for his book Against The Law. Against The law was published in 1955 and detailed his experiences at the hands of the law and the British establishment. It also brought to light the appalling conditions in Wormwood Scrubs, the institute where he was imprisoned. More over, Wildewoods book encouraged improvement for both prison and homosexual reform. Peter Wildewood became a known campaigner for gay rights and played a significant role in the decriminalization of homosexuality in the UK in 1967 and his story inspired the 2007 documentary A Very British Sex Scandal.
Bing Zhang was born and raised in China where he studied and got his bachelor degree in Digital Media Art. Not able to stop the flowing of creative juice, he already started working as freelance photographer during that time, which eventually allowed him to travel and embark on other exciting studies. His travels brought him to Korea and Germany before eventually settling in California. His studies went from photography to film and finally graphic design. Bing now happily tries to find different ways to combine his skills in every project he does. Only 24 years old, he is able to give his work a deeper meaning that would suggest Bing has a lot more life experience. As he shows in his series A Very British Sex Scandal, named after the 2007 documentary. Together with model Keith Hennings, Bing has given a most realistic and human face to the story of Peter Wildeblood, portraying him as the strong and tender character he was. Peter Wildeblood passed away on November 14, 1999. But had he still lived, he would most certainly have been proud of the work Bing Zhang made, inspired by his story. –BM-
BING ZHANG | BEAUTIFULMAG