Hawaii 50 (2017). Photograph by Matthew Papa.
“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
Manifest (2017). Photograph by David Uzochukwu.
“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
Myles S. Golden
Robert Mapplethorpe This Is Not Your History (2016). Photograph by Myles S. Golden.
“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