I’m currently a senior at Parsons working on my thesis project PERSONA, which is an ongoing series of portraits glorifying my muses at their most magnificent. My images celebrate the expression of non-binary gender identities through fashion. While it is easy to forget, the mere visibility of queer figures is a political statement. Fashion places a premium on authenticity, the idea of natural beauty is revered by fashion publications and their readers. Conversely, my subjects elevate themselves by utilizing artifice to the fullest. Through makeup and garments they further reveal themselves. The ensembles that adorn their bodies are a second skin, a visual enhancement further aiding in the expression of their identity.
These images represent a major turning point in the process of creating PERSONA, as I’m beginning to approach capturing each muse individually in a more specific way, whereas before everybody was shot similarly. Using art and pop culture references that are relevant to each subject, I'm imbuing more meaning and creating a fantasy around each persona rather than simply documenting them. This group of images was created in collaboration with Hanaquist, a designer and New York nightlife muse known for her extravagant, larger-than-life ensembles. The references and visual language utilized are very particular to her. Whether it's the high-femme recreation of Gabrielle d'Estrées where Hana sits adorned in jewelry from Earrings Plaza with white powder cascading from the curtains (that are actually made of her dresses) or the group portrait of she and three other versions of herself wearing iconic Hanaquist garments before a lavender Irving Penn backdrop, the images intend to capture the ultimate essence of her through my eyes.
Submitted to 2017 Creative Excellence Awards
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