I’ve been called a gay man photographer. I don’t care what others say. I’m gay. I shoot for myself. I don’t want to be a gay photographer. I want to shoot people who are gay. I like to take pictures of the best gay people, gay people of color, and gay people who identify as LGBT.
The idea behind your work is simple: You are using a camera to document the people and situations you encounter daily, as well as to help others to identify themselves and their experiences in new, and hopefully better ways. So how can you create a photo that is about these identities? You can start by shooting in a way that people already know, or that you think they should know, but that your client doesn’t.
Gay people of color are often stereotyped as a distinct group of people. But for many of us, being gay is a part of who we are. It is a defining aspect of who we are. So by documenting and photographing the people you encounter everyday, you can help others to understand their own experiences. And this is why you can start by shooting in a way that people already know, or that you think they should know, but that your client doesnt.
Of course, there are a lot of photographers and artists who claim a bias against photographing gay people of color. Some even claim it is a deliberate attempt to make gays seem even more exotic and strange than they are, while others just say it’s simply a mistake that they haven’t ever seen a gay person of color before. I can say with certainty that I’ve been photographing and speaking to gay people of color for almost a decade now, and that I know my subjects.
Ive had two very good experiences with gay people of color. The first was in the mid-nineties, when a young friend of mine from a predominantly black school I was attending was shot down by the cops during a protest for the right to marry in New York. She was pulled over and searched multiple times because she wasnt wearing a headpiece that was required for her to be carrying her phone in her purse. Her friend who was with her was also stopped and searched.
The fact that one of the officers was a white officer is a sign that racism is still alive and well in New York City. This was at the height of the AIDS crisis in the early to mid ’90s. It also happened at the height of the Clinton administration, when gay rights activists were trying to force the city to legalize same-sex marriage. As a result of these events, gay men of color were disproportionately targeted by police, who in turn became targets of hate crimes.
The irony of this scene is that the same police officers who are trying to stop an undocumented gay man from getting married are the ones who were making a big show of searching and stopping a gay man in the same situation. So perhaps this is one of the reasons that NYPD officers were the ones who started this whole “gay man photography” thing.
The Gay Men’s Movement (or GSM for short) was a grassroots movement by and for gay men, which fought for acceptance in the United States. It also fought against police discrimination. As a result of these events, gay men of color were disproportionately targeted by police, who in turn became targets of hate crimes.
The Gay Mens Movement was also more than just a protest movement. It was also an organized group of white gay men dedicated to the goal of fighting to get people to stop harassing them. In fact, the term “homophobia” is still used today to describe these police harassment incidents.
In the 1940s, the government was creating laws that would make it easier for people who were openly homosexual to marry. These laws included more restrictions on the ability for the government to deny a gay man the right to marry a partner of his own sex. The Gay Mens Movement fought against these laws and in the 1950s they succeeded in getting the government to change its mind.