Two souls in one

“Lessons in Glamour”

 

    He slides on a dress and steps into heels. Make up is applied with grace to a face that defines its own beauty and a wig that is wrangled into a position of maximal attitude. His transformation is almost complete, from chrysalis to glamorous butterfly, requiring only the embrace of an audience.

    The process is mesmerizing, and I am honored to bear witness to the creation of those astonishing personae only a drag queen can create. I have tried to be an attentive student to the artistry and there is so much to learn. There are many motivations for a man to emerge as a new being, as numerous as the elements of couture. It is in the dressing room, where the lines of gender and sexuality become purposely blurred.

 

 Drag queens are not sham women or comic impersonators. Such simplification would be degrading. There are those who do drag  for reasons of pride.

 

“When I see photographs of myself in drag sometimes I am in awe because I created her. She is my imagination.”

 

Some drag queens perform because they love to entertain.

 

“When I get on stage and perform, I hope I can make people laugh and forget about their

 problems”

 

Some are transgender women and others identify themselves as gender queer and femme, employing drag to unpack and reaffirm gender identity. 

 

“I love the adoration from the audience because I do not see it in myself”

 

Some gay men who perform drag emphasize that their drag queen identify as an iconic entertainer.

 

“Honey, this is a Bob Mackie dress.”

 

There are those performers who adopt feminine identities as a tool to connect to life off stage

 

“I started doing drag with the name of Jasmine Harlow. Jasmine was my mother’s name and Harlow was from the documentary about Queen”

 

Drag queens commit to who they will become and share the new born authenticity with each other.

“Now who has my lipstick”,

“I forgot my eyelashes”,

“Oh my god, she is beautiful.”

“The face doesn’t come together until you have on your lips.”

“Girl, I was doing that song tonight.”

 

 

For the audience, the drag queens create a space, in which nothing is as it appears. She is a magician…sexual smoke and feminine mirrors.  At the same time, they are challenging all of us to shift our perception of male and female, beyond rigid biological classification. Is it only in the chromosomes?  “Does it matter how one defines themselves sexually?” My intention with this body of work is to initiate a dialog as it relates to a possible fusion of male/female within all of us, and that the “self” lies along this continuum.   

 

 

    

All photographs have been shot with DLSR camera, and some manipulation completed within lightroom and photoshop. 

These photographs are not posed, nor set up with specific lighting and backdrop, but are shot while the individuals were completing their makeup and dressing, and ultimately the performance. 

I THOU

The eyes indicate the antiquity of the soul”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

    How often do we walk past someone on the street, and when they look into our eyes, we glance away.. not allowing a stranger to know us, to perhaps see into our soul, and to then bear our hearts in an open manner, without fear, for others to see. These portraits are representative of strangers in my life, who showed me their spirit, their souls and told me their stories. 

    All of them were strangers, most of them have been through hard times, some still are not sure where they will get their next meal. But all of them have a kindness in their eyes, that tells of a spirit within that has not been broken.  We all have stories to tell. My hope is that you will look at these portraits and wonder what their stories might be. And perhaps the next time you are rushing by another sentient being on the street, or in the park, you will allow the privilege of looking directly into their eyes, to perhaps hear their story, to see the light within them. This one act of grace and kindness, opens the circle of life so that we all become interconnected in some manner. Imagine how powerful we as human beings can become.. Grateful..

 

 

All of my work is photographed on a digital camera with limited manipulation in lightroom and photoshop. All works are printed on archival paper. 

 

"POPS"