Candid: 1. truthful and straightforward; frank.
2. (of a photograph of a person) taken informally, especially without the subject's knowledge.
Queer: 1. strange; odd.
2. denoting or relating to a sexual or gender identity that does not correspond to established ideas of sexuality and gender, especially .
These four definitions are what I try to encapsulate not only in my photography but in my life everyday. Candid 1: I want to be truthful to myself and to everyone I encounter in my full self, in my full queerness, in my full questioning and contemplating of gender and the world, and the way I see things best through my lens. Queer 1: I am strange, I am odd. Humans in general and the ways we function, and interact, and love and hate. It’s all so strange to me and I love to capture it and document it for myself and for everyone to see. Candid 2: I take the queerness of my life and of my community, and I want to capture it truthfully, and to capture a fully real and truthful photo I am almost convinced it has to be candid. When people drop their walls and inhibitions, the camera isn’t there, the lens isn’t right in their face, they’re existing as they want and as they should. That is when you actually photograph someone’s essence. Queer 2: QUEER! Gay! Gay gay gay, make it all gay. Make it trans. Make it gender non conforming, questioning, anywhere and everywhere in between. That is my community. That is my love. I want to tell the stories of all the wild, wacky, fun and beautiful queers I meet in this world in their truth and in my truth, through my lens. Leatherfolks, “lipstick lesbians”, femme gay boys, Drag queens/kings/things, those who fall into any possible category and those who don’t fall into any. Make it Queer.
How did I get to "Candidly Queer"?
How did I come into this defining mantra of my business? Well actually, just at dinner talking to a dear friend. He said these words, from his genius mind, and I knew it was what I was going for in my photography, in my art, and in my life. But how did I get onto this path, how did I derive this one connecting thread in all of my life? Honestly it went hand and hand in my search for community as I have come of age in a queer metropolis like Atlanta. I found myself photographing so many different things, but they all seemed centered on a few different common themes. The Pride Opening Reception put on by the mayor’s office at City Hall? Queer. Joyous. Communal. I was in charge of getting the crowd shots, so of course I got a lot of candids. Countless drag shows? Again, Queer. Joyous. Communal. Photographing the meet and greets, performances, and even people in the crowd enjoying the show, once again I was photographing queer people, documenting their lives and their joy, and capturing plenty of candid shots to see them in their happiest most natural state. Business headshots for queer people? Once again, Queer. Joyous. Helping these people feel comfortable in front of the lens and get good shots to showcase them for various opportunities in their life and future. Not entirely candid, but still all about capturing a queer person in their joyous truth. And finally BDSM/Leather/Kink portraits and events. Always communal. Sometimes queer. Fraught with emotions running high. While these events aren’t strictly queer, they have a huge queer presence, and plenty of roots deep in queer culture. These events also tend to be sort of underground, people aren’t always open about this side of themselves, so I shoot candids, almost street photography style, in the hope of preserving anonymity for the subjects I photograph. These photos are still queer, still full of emotion, but a lot of times focused on the details of this subculture as to not risk exposing someone's truth before they're ready to. After really talking with a friend and analyzing ALL of these things I find my happiest moments in photography and in life, that is when I realized my photography business was Candidly Queer- honest, weird, strange, and gay, and it always had been.
For the underdogs...
The perspective of my art is to tell the story of those who don't have anyone else trying to tell their stories. I want to use my art to take the stories of queer "underdogs" and amplify it wherever possible. Whether it is a drag queen stepping on their stage to debut a new number, or someone who is interested in BDSM and never had the chance to experience it, I want my photos to show others that all these cool queer things exist in this world and that they are GOOD.