BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! is a new book edited by Ghislain Pascal and published by teNeues and Mendo. It presents a contemporary collection of queer and gay photography, full of variety, power and intensity. It features more than 50 queer and gay photographers from 20 countries.
How are you doing? And how are you spending your days in these crazy times?
Ghislain Pascal: I am doing fine. I am lucky that I live in rural France and living in denial. I have turned off the news and am enjoying the beautiful French countryside, food, drink, sunshine and my pool. Now that our lockdown in France is more or less over (except travel – no international travel or going more than 100kms from your home) life is pretty much returning to normal. Yesterday I had lunch with friends and we swam and sunbathed.
What is this crisis doing to you? What has changed? And how does it change your work at the gallery?
Ghislain Pascal: Like all businesses the crisis has been a disaster. We had exhibitions planned in Oslo and Paris in April, in London in May, in New York in June, in Berlin in July, and in Los Angeles in August. All of these were cancelled. Whilst we opened a show in Sydney on 13 March which closed the following day. Luckily because we don’t have a physical gallery in London any more (we closed our space in 2018 after 10 years) we don’t have large overheads. We had already repositioned our business to be more global and online – partnering the last couple of years with Paddle8 (the online auction house) for our online program. Now that they have gone bankrupt (not because of us!) we are launching on June 1 a new online art platform BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! – the home of queer and gay photography (boysboysboys.org). Whilst our BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! exhibition with the museum Fotografiska in New York scheduled for June has now moved online (fotografiska.com/nyc/). This will be our first major exhibition online, so it will be very interesting to see the results.
Do you think galleries will have to rethink in the future? For example in a digital way?
Ghislain Pascal: I think sadly that this crisis is going to have a major impact on galleries and the art world in general. I fear that a lot of small photography galleries will disappear and it will only be the large ones, the smart ones, and the ones with deep pockets, that survive. Whilst a lot of the art fairs will disappear – which in my opinion is no bad thing as they have morphed into a global trend which has ruined small galleries. The photography world and photography market had already changed beyond recognition in the past ten years. Some of it for the better but a lot of it for the worse so hopefully it be survive stronger and better and it will definitely become more accessible online. It was already incredibly hard for small commercial galleries to survive as people’s habits change. From my own personal experience in London in the ten years we had our physical gallery people’s habits had completely changed and did not visit galleries any more to buy art but instead visited art fairs, from auctions, or online. It’s a real shame that these galleries will disappear as they are the cornerstone for launching and developing artists. Without them it makes it even harder for artists to get on the ladder. It forces artists to go it alone and hustle, which in my opinion is not the right thing to do. Artists need galleries, and galleries need artists. It is a partnership and I wish more artists and galleries saw it like that.
In general, how do you choose new artists for the gallery or the books?
Ghislain Pascal: It is really very simple: I choose whether I like them or if they are any good. I am lucky that I have worked and continue to work with some amazing photographers – both living and passed. Because I don’t have the physical constraints of running a physical gallery any more, I can focus on developing new projects including our BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! and GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS!. BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! is a project to promote queer and gay photography and we now work with more than 60 photographers from 21 countries. Whilst GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! is a project to celebrate the female form through fine art photography and we work with some of the greatest contemporary photographers.
Let’s talk about Boys! Boys! Boys! What criteria did you use to curate the book?
Ghislain Pascal: BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! is a project to promote queer and gay photography and photographers and everything I curate has to be defined through fine art photography. I am not looking to titillate or for soft-porn. Obviously the medium of photography is a very wide field so whether it be portraiture or social documentation there is a lot to choose from. For me it is very important that the project is not about just my own personal taste but to see it as all encompassing representing as much as possible all aspects of queer and gay life and photography. There are limitations and I would love to have more photographers of colour shooting people of colour. We currently don’t have any photographers from Africa which is terrible, despite me looking extensively. Any recommendations welcome.
When will it be published? And what can we expect?
Ghislain Pascal: BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! the book is published worldwide in June, edited by me, and published by teNeues and Mendo. It is a stunning coffee table book featuring 130 colour and b&w fine art photographs by 52 queer and gay photographers from over 20 countries. All the royalties from the book are going to the Elton John AIDS Foundation. It has been a labour of love but I am really happy with the final book and hope that it helps raise the profile of all the photographers and queer and gay photography in general.
BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! is a new book edited by Ghislain Pascal and published by teNeues and Mendo. It presents a contemporary collection of queer and gay photography, full of variety, power and intensity. It features more than 50 queer and gay photographers from 20 countries. All royalties from the book are going to the Elton John AIDS Foundation. It coincides with the launch of new online art platform boysboysboys.org – the home of queer and gay photography and the online BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! exhibition at Fotografiska New York. BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! is available in June from all good book stores or from thelittleblackgallery.com