I’ve spent the summer working on this series of character portraits: posed images that investigate the liminal space between the inner and outer selves, resulting in a visual characterization of each subject that straddles the line between documentary and fine art photography. My practice is heavily based on my infatuation with this relationship—whether images beautifully frame reality, or turn reality into a beautiful frame.
Many of the subjects in this series I met while shooting nightlife in New York. Because of that, my process tends to be equal parts technical artistry and community based. I gave little direction to my subjects before the shoot, simply to bring some favorite clothing. After spending some time together we then worked collaboratively through the styling, posing, and creative direction for each shoot.
In general, much of my work exists within queer and non-binary culture, though no specific identity is the focus of this series. Instead, it is my hope that any impulse to define the subjects fades, and that a deeper impulse to simply see and feel them, as I did, takes hold. The series isn't activist nor political. My subjects are presented as people; my series is an exploration of beauty in every form, nothing more or less.
Still, when looking at the finished series in light of recent events (white supremacy rearing its heinous head, the country regressing to a further state of intolerance) do images such as these, which much of the country might view as infamous, have an inevitable purpose? Has my simple concept of "people being people" turned into an activism of visibility?
I am a New York based documentary / portrait photographer and photo editor.