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When does your book come out and will you go on tour?
Queerography is now available! The tour schedule is here.
What inspired you to do this project?
I’ve been photographing LGBTIQ culture for over 7 years, including artists, friends, family, performers, professionals, and all the other queers in my community. Through my experience of traveling and connecting with queer communities around the world, I became inspired to dive deeper into global queer culture and use my photyography to help unite the amazing global LGBTI/Queer community. I was in Tokyo in September, 2012 and just decided to go for it. I spent the next 6 months in Tokyo, Bangkok and Hong Kong working on the first edition of Queerography.
What does queer mean to you?
The term Queer, once derogatory, has been reclaimed in recent years to liberate and empower free thinking individuals who feel limited by society’s binary gendersexual standards. Queer culture unites all sexual orientations and gender identities with shared values of acceptance, open mindedness, mutual respect, and community. Whether you’re lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, polyamorous, a dragster, kinkster, fetishist, sex worker, or just unique in your own way, we are all queer!
Have you ever done a project like this before?
This is my first intentional project, but I’ve been photographing this subject mater since I picked up the camera.
How long did you spend in each of the countries?
I was based in Tokyo for 6 months and would take side trips to Bangkok for 2 weeks and to Hong Kong for 2 weeks.
What kind of cultural differences did you discover?
As I travel and share stories with queers around the world, I feel united by our common threads, despite the obvious cultural differences. In Bangkok, like so many other places, I observed a deeply ingrained stereotype of masculine and feminine gender roles, which carries over and becomes even more prominent in same sex relationships, which tend to be defined by Tom and Dee (butch and femme) roles. In Tokyo and Hong Kong, there is a deeply rooted sense of family honor and pride that weighs heavily on one’s actions and behavior, becoming virtually prohibitive to admitting queer identity. In Tokyo Keeping ones sexual orientation private from ones daily world is common. What I observed was many people live double lives, a day life and night life and a crossover of both rarely happens. For example a business man during the day, might be a bartender in a gay club at night. In all cities, I received an out pouring of people who where very interested in this project, but due to different cultural differences some people were out going about being photographed for a book on queer culture.
These are just observations from the selected individuals I met.
What are your fondest memories of each of the countries?
All the people I met, the stories I heard, and of course the resulting images we created.
How did you find people to photograph?
I found people and events by reading blogs, Facebook, image and event searches, sending out emails, Google is my best friend. I also, went to Ni-chome the LGBT area of Tokyo, got involved with monthly and weekly events. Bangkok I stayed in Siam and made connection via social networking. I have a friend Coco Pop who lives in Hong Kong, who I had photographed my first time in China, Coco really welcomed me into his world. Lots of hard work and determination.
Are you planning to do more projects like this?
I am planning on expanding this project to encompass a global community.