New Geographies in Queer Photography

Curated by Rafael Soldi
Dates: May 15–July 19, 2014
Molly Landreth, Zackary Drucker, Elle Perez, Michael Max McLeod, Richard Renaldi, We Are The Youth, and # 1 must have
Here and Now: New Geographies in Queer Photography presented the work of artists embarking on physical and emotional journeys to define and discover queerness across the American landscape. In this exhibition images became the spaces where new maps are imagined and created, they help us map our own place within a larger territory as we define what it means to be queer today. These artists’ instinctive search for context stems out of a desire for human connection and extended placeness fueled by a history of otherness in the world. 

Presented through a video projection, Zachary Drucker’s Lost Lake posits beauty and fear as inextricable from the psyche of the American landscape. Contemplative moments and stunning vistas are jarringly punctuated with the vocabularies of witch-hunts, hate crimes, and psychological violence.

Artists Molly Landreth and Michael Max McLeod both take the road to document queer spaces and communities that delineate the margins of American cities. Landreth’s Embodiment project is an archive and a journey through a rapidly changing community and the lives of people who offer brave new visions of what it means to be queer in America today. McLeod, on the other hand, points his lens at the architecture of voyeurism. McLeod’s images reveal circumstantial worlds that exist entirely in the dark, proving why adult video arcades still exist in the Internet era. His photographs of adult video theaters serves as a meditation on the physical structures that facilitate, limit, and/or control the queer spectatorship.

Elle Perez and Richard Renaldi too cover ground, revealing intimacy as integral to the fabric of the American landscape. The first significant presentation of Renaldi’s Hotel Room Portraits, these photographs offer a glimpse into the artist’s life on the road. The self-portraits, which often feature his partner, Seth, elevate mundane moments to emotional documents of queer intimacy in transit. Elle Perez takes on a countrywide journey to document queer diasporas punctuated by intimate moments of connection and interior landscapes that begin to form a language for the often-unspoken and undocumented space between genders.

Lastly, artist-teams We Are the Youth (Laurel Golio & Diana Scholl) and #1 Must Have (Adrien Leavitt & A. Slaven) each bring visbility to specific communities within the larger queer diaspora. We Are the Youth is an ongoing photographic journalism project chronicling the individual stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth in the United States. Through photographic portraits and “as told to” interviews in the participants’ own voices, We Are the Youth addresses the lack of visibility of LGBTQ young people across the United States.

#1 Must Have reframes the queer experience outside of the victim paradigm often seen in popular culture and presents their subject through contemporary vernacular such as zines, Tumblr sites, community exhibitions, and queer dance parties.