"This image was taken in Hawaii last year where I celebrated turning 50—a milestone that, for many years, I didn’t expect to reach. I came out in the '80s, during the height of the AIDS epidemic, so my queerness has always been framed by a sense of fear and resistance. A lot has changed in those three decades, and while acceptance of our community has grown in ways that I never imagined, we need to remain vigilant. Our current political climate has made it apparent how progress can be stopped in its tracks, and even turned backward." —Matthew Papa
"A frightening aspect of queerness was the mind-numbing loneliness growing up. Dozens of voices from outside found their way inside, and I could barely hear anything over the raging noise. But the more you learn to trust yourself, the more they quiet down. The more you stand up for yourself, the more joy you find." —David Uzochukwu
"Robert Mapplethorpe This Is Not Your History was created as a direct retaliation to the Portfolio Z series shot and captured by Robert Mapplethorpe in the late '70s. In photo history, Mapplethorpe's works are often sourced and attributed as visual etymologies for queer representations—losing sight of how the gaze of whiteness makes a spectacle of blackness when it's being is rendered as just 'body.' In my photograph, I use the oppositional gaze—one that looks back—as well as the unreadability of shadowing, removing that which Mapplethorpe most profoundly commodified to be the definition of blackness and maleness to disavow the anthropological racism constructed within his Portfolio Z series. I, the artist and the collaborator, take back what is seen, what can been seen, and what of my body is for consumption." —Myles S. Golden
"As a queer and trans-identified artist, it's important for me to raise these stories up and create a space for diversity among mass media that is often portrayed through a cis-normative lens. 'Trans' or 'queer' might be used to identify us, but it's not all that identifies us. Our presence belongs here, too, and as we move forward, it's important to note that representation isn't just about illuminating us, but including us, as well." —Lia Clay
"Pulse is a series of images made at Pulse Nightclub immediately following the shooting on June 12, 2015, which is now remembered as one of the deadliest mass shootings by a single shooter and the deadliest incident of violence against LGBTQ people in United States history. The photographs made at the memorial, primarily of the fence protecting the crime scene, document the material of public loss around an intimate national tragedy." —Res
"This image is part of an ongoing documentation of my friend Lucky through our various relationships and transitions in life over the last seven years. To me, queerness is not just about sexuality, but above all about creating our own sense of family, and that’s what this project is about. With my work as a whole, I like to question ideas of androgyny and gender presentation; Lucky and I are both very into the idea of androgyny as a combination of hyper-masculinity and hyper-femininity as opposed to a more masculine 'neutral.' This photograph is also about unapologetically showing the beauty of trans bodies, as a trans photographer myself." —Laurence Philomène
"The series entitled Black Doll came about when William Ndatila approached me to collaborate. He wanted to create a project based around the black doll due to research he'd been doing on the dolls made by the African-American slaves from found materials to give their children a sense of self and identity. With my personal work, I try to further the sense of self and identity within my people, as white media tends to portray us in a certain manner, but we try to fight against that. This image pays homage to those who, despite the adversities they faced, still created something to aid in their struggle, as we're trying to do today in contemporary image making and fashion." —Campbell Addy
"This photograph serves as the cover of my photo book, Complicit, which tells the story of relationships with older gay men in New York from 2010 to 2015. The work serves as a reminder that aging, like sexuality, is an essential part of life and worth exploring in all its beautiful complexity." —Matthew Morrocco.
"There are certain people I feel I can’t photograph: my dad and my wife, Pierina. I was struggling through a creative block and this moment happened. This was a photograph I had to take. I think I’m finally getting somewhere with this image. As a first-generation American, I am interested in exploring hybrid identities through self-representation. I’m curious about the complex relationships between a family fractured by emigration. Now, as a newlywed, I am looking toward the future by using myself as a subject." —Groana Melendez
"That Implicit Device of Persuasion began as a lexicon to speak on identity politics and queerness. A language born of surrealism, it quickly became an intuitive exercise, creating imagery to explore the continual tension in my own mind between logic and the irrational. More fulsome and faithful representations of various people within the ever expanding gender spectrum is more important now as we acquire more tools to become, and remain, visible." —Zen Schullere-Cablay
"After the parade, and the parties, my biggest pride is being with this person." —Diane Russo
"Beyond the window an assortment of trees cluster. High enough to hear me in the attic, but static and of no use to the person loading the trunk of their car with household supplies. 'What do you wear to clean your mess?' they yell to me from below. All white probably, and happily so—it catches the most residue and provides the most evidence. Red-handed, blue-balled. However, I did learn that if I want my hair to be exactly reddish-brown and not reddish-orange, I can apply the color straight instead of bleaching blonde first." —Elliott Jerome Brown Jr.
"I love to reference pop music and culture within my photographs. Growing up queer, pop stars like the Spice Girls, Gaga, and Britney provided a fantastical visual escape from the banality of my bedroom. For images like this, I tap into the bubblegum visuality and sparkly utopia that I, as a queer person and artist, try to create." —Ryan Duffin
"What I like about this image is that the object photographed is recognizable, but not entirely identifiable. Presented in certain conditions, under certain light, the object projects an outward appearance, allowing it to perform a specific visual narrative. What it seems to me is queer about this narrative is how different—arguably contradictory—qualities come together as a unified whole. In this instance, the pomegranate displays signs of decay and rot, as well as beauty and vibrancy." —Andrew Jarman
"The responsibility of being Cuban is intrinsically tied to the responsibility of achieving and being the ideal macho. Being non-binary and Cuban means that I have to have a mobile identity—flexible, resilient, complex. It has to tolerate, resist, perform, and constantly transform itself, all while wearing a multitude of masks; the spectacular mask, the banal mask, the quotidian mask, the transcendent mask. Working to legitimize what a queer or trans politic might look like in Cuba is like the picture I made with my father; I am so close to him physically, but there is still a distance between us, a confrontation. As I negotiate my privilege and responsibility in the LGBTQI+ and Cuban communities, what begins to diverge as they intersect? I am creating worlds to come, signals that rewrite the history of Cubanidad—a nuance that includes the futurity of being queer in the nations body and their collective imaginary. Flowing, spilling, teetering, collapsing, and responding." —Alexis Ruiseco
"I am a proud queer Latinx immigrant artist, but I don’t want my work to be pigeonholed as simply those things. I am a complex individual and my work explores the human experience." —Vanessa Rondon
"This photograph is my boyfriend and me mid-kiss. Even though this image is quiet, my hope is that it may still emit noise. Pride is a reminder to support and celebrate those around you—to lift up those who have yet to grasp their sexuality or full identity, and to reflect on the brave queer individuals that came before us and fought for our rights." —Ryan James Caruthers
Baltrop passed away in 2004. His estate shared the following excerpt from Artforum.
"Baltrop photographed obsessively: men engaged in sex shot from the distance of a neighboring pier or clandestinely through a doorway, and men happy to become exhibitionists for the camera at close range; men and women Baltrop came to know at the piers, including some who had no place else to live; guys cruising for sex, sometimes as naked as the nearby sunbathers; people just strolling about, transfixed by the rays of sunlight streaming through disintegrating roof structures; graffiti, some of it the skillful handiwork of an artist known as Tava, who painted in a style that amalgamates Greek vase painting with Tom of Finland; gruesome corpses dredged up from the river and surrounded by the police and onlookers. Most of all, Baltrop photographed the piers themselves, right up to the moment they were razed." —Douglas Crimp, Artforum, February 2008
Photograph courtesy of The Alvin Baltrop Trust, © 2010, Third Streaming, NY, and Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne/New York. All rights reserved.
"Recently, I've been documenting individuals and intimate groups from Pittsburgh’s queer community in conjunction with domestic landscapes. As developing cities push queer culture away from the physical and the public, the photos examine how queerness occupies domestic space. I'm invested in the role that performativity, hair, collected objects, and community play in identity." —Jenna Houston
"Morgan Saint is my creative collaborator, best friend, and life partner. Working together has been a powerful and intimate experience for us both. Over the past two years, we've collaborated on numerous projects, including fashion stories, portraits, and artwork for her upcoming album. Working alongside such a strong female force has been inspiring, as Morgan’s unique feminine perspective is bold and beautiful." —Sofia Colvin
"Our bodies and our relationships become our self-inflicted homes, through which we take control and self determine." —Mikaela Lungulov-Klotz