In this series, I photograph BDSM practitioners in the language of family portraiture and engage with issues of LGBTQ politics, family, and domestic space. The queer families that I depict challenge the ways in which we define family itself; since marriage and reproduction may not be available or desirable for queer individuals, they must seek alternate modes of family-making. I present such a mode in BDSM, and look at how its practitioners are connected in ways akin to an extended family. Normality is not fixed, but polysemous – similarly, family is open to multiple interpretations. How can queer individuals envisage the concept of family when it has become synonymous with marriage in the moderate gay movement?
Can we forge new connections with the past or are these moments lost forever? To engage with this question, I began by projecting a video of my former partner and I having sex. My body acted as a screen for this encounter, causing my image to exist simultaneously in the past, present, and future. It is, however, disconnected from each. I try to return my hands to familiar places, to touch history, but this action is futile. Memory and its various repositories cannot fully write the present into the past; instead, traces of these moments hang in the air - phantasmal yet poignant.
This work explores temporality, memory, and the body through self-portraiture. Resisting normative constructions of time, I examine moments in which the past, present, and future collapse upon each other. My body becomes a vehicle for memory as the past haunts the present. These images are tangible yet insubstantial. I use alternative and historic photographic processes alongside current digital methods of imagemaking to further complicate and queer linear time. Moments are not discrete or bound to sequential time; rather, they bleed into other timelines in unexpected, jarring ways.
By photographing the male form as landscape, I explore alternative masculinities and deconstruct the history of the nude. The male body becomes abstracted through framing, its flesh transforming into expansive fields and mountain ranges that reference early American landscape photography. In these images, masculinity is beautiful, serene, and the object of the gaze; this differentiates from other depictions of the male nude that focus on its strength and power. These bodies are monumental yet hidden, beautiful yet robust.
By decontextualizing stained darkroom trays, I challenge both cultural and art world associations with photography. Years of wear from various processes has created surprising textures and colors on the trays - visually, they have a verisimilitude to abstract expressionist paintings. Photography has often held a precarious position in the art world, with some critics designating it as "low art". The indistinguishability between photography and painting in these images acts as a reversal between "low" and "high". As nonrepresentational imagery illustrates, photography is much more complex than mere documentation. The medium challenges its own definitions with every click of the shutter.