Whether the men below were gay in the way our current culture understands that idea, or in the way that they themselves understood it, is unknowable. What we do know is that the men would not have thought their poses and body language had anything at all to do with that question. What you see in the photographs was common, not rare; the photos are not about sexuality, but intimacy.
I came across this set of photos, and I highly encourage you to check them out.
What struck me most was how the above portraits of men of color did not read to me as anachronistic as the ones of upper class white men. The article is about how what is considered culturally proper displays of affection between men has changed quite a bit over time. What the article neglects is that the biggest changes in affectionate display has been in upper class white men; I’d venture to say that there is more easy affection between men of color in America today from what I’ve observed myself.
Some of the photos of white men from the set: