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.
"Refuse and corpses show me what I permanently thrust aside in order to live. These body fluids, this defilement, this shit are what life withstands, hardly and with difficulty, on the part of death. There, I am at the border of my condition as a living being.” - Julia Kristeva, the Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection
I am simultaneously fascinated with and terrified of bodies. While they are at the crux of existence, our corporal forms are constantly decaying. Bodily refuse - in the form of fingernail clippings, hair, blood, pus, et cetera - jarringly reminds me of my body's fragility. In this series of mixed media paintings, I utilize the aforementioned materials alongside items that bear verisimilitude to sinew, organs, and other remnants. I harness my own anxiety to examine issues surrounding life, death, and the representation of bodies in art.
The camera is a tool of appropriation and recontextualization. With each click of the shutter, photographers can dramatically alter how we perceive the subject. Our society has, mistakenly and dangerously, come to believe that photography is a medium of truth. Engaging with this conceptual space, I present a series of stains, chipped paint, graffiti cover-ups, and other textures as "found paintings." These photographs challenge the way we encounter the mundane; small details that are often overlooked can bear verisimilitude to abstract expressionist paintings, given the right context.