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Instagram deletes account of world famous photographer Tom Bianchi

Instagram deletes account of world famous photographer Tom Bianchi

two men sit topless on a boat with their arms around each other's shoulders, they are wearing sunglasses and smiling

World renowned photographer known for shooting male nudes, Tom Bianchi, has had his Instagram account deleted.

Instagram notified Bianchi that it blocked his account for violating ‘community guidelines’.

The post which got Bianchi deleted showed a naked man sitting on a bed with his back to the camera. Called Untitled, 457
Fire Island Pines from his book, Polaroids 1975-1983, the photo had more than 5,000 likes at the time of deletion. Time magazine furthermore named Polaroids 1975-1983 as one of the best photo books of 2013.


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Bianchi’s legacy

Bianchi is a world famous photographer who became renowned not only for his shots of nude men but for his work in HIV activism. Living with HIV himself, Bianchi has used his photography to raise money for HIV medication research.

In 2013, Out magazine also listed him in the annual OUT 100 list of LGBTI influencers.

Bianchi the gay historian

Many of Bianchi’s friends also took to Instagram to support the former lawyer turned photographer.

His husband, Ben Smales, wrote: ‘Tom Bianchi’s Instagram account was deleted this morning for violating ‘Community Guidelines’ –
tumblr’s recent policy change and the madness of scruff’s change in profile image guidelines is a deliberate attack to censor us.’

‘These corporations earn millions from our collective queer output and history, with Apple as their leader they now move to silence us,’ Smales wrote.

Smales was referring to recent policy changes at social media sites Instagram and Tumblr, and gay hook-up app Scruff. The platforms have come under fire for tightening their community guidelines, which many in the LGBTI community have described as censorship and curtailing their ability to express themselves freely.

Architect and long-time friend of Bianchi, Douglas Truesdale, also took to Instagram to defend the photographer.


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‘Tom and his husband @bensmales have become cherished friends since I moved to California six and a half years ago,’ Truesdale wrote.

‘To those of us in the gay community, Tom has in many ways acted as historian for our culture. His work has shone a light on the intimate relationships of gay men, which is threatening to many, including those that control social media.

‘I’m appalled that his account was deleted. We all know that these so-called community guidelines are never without prejudice.

‘So, in solidarity with Tom, I am sharing these portraits he has taken of me and @jimbeau60over the years. I consider myself lucky to have been the subject of such a gifted artist. We will not be marginalized. Not now, not ever. #tombianchi #stopcensorshipofart.’

Gay Star News has reached out to Instagram and Bianchi for comment.