“I think the queer community, as a whole, has some work to do in terms of being fully intersectional, diverse, and inclusive.”
What’s your take on inclusivity within the queer community?
I think the queer community is a magical place, one in which each person is free to write their own script for how they want to exist, live and love. But we are still divided, especially along lines of race and class. I think the queer community, as a whole, has some work to do in terms of being fully intersectional, diverse, and inclusive.
Your latest book, Look at me like you love me puts the focus on individuals instead of communities. How has your perception of family changed over the years?
This is an interesting question, as I think of family in both an immediate and communal way. I have been working on a body of work documenting my own immediate family, which includes my partner and our daughter as well as my mom and her partner, for over a decade now. I’m interested in how these relationships change and grow over time and am also invested in creating representations of queer families and queer parenting, which are still lacking.
But I also think of family on a broader, communal scale. Look at me like you love me is about a lot of things – personhood, intimacy, loss, desire – but it’s also about how we connect with others in a meaningful way and how our own identities are validated by being in relationship with others, whether romantic, platonic, familial, or communal.
How do you choose and approach the people you photograph?
I am drawn to the people I photograph on an energetic level; there is something about them that I respond to in a visceral way. I am interested in people who are comfortable with who they are and who are able to be open and honest and engage in a meaningful emotional exchange with me. My work depends upon the full consent and participation of my subjects, so I’m only interested in photographing people who actively want to collaborate with me.
I’m especially drawn to people who embody both strength and gentleness, particularly when their identity requires them to actively push against societal expectations. I’m also interested in a gentler, more complex version of masculinity than the one we see in the mainstream. Finally, there is sometimes a kind of mirroring that takes place between me and the person I’m photographing; I see myself reflected in them, or I see part of them reflected in me.