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Tuesday, 13 August 2013

A post by JB

As someone with a keen interest, but little experience in photography, and a similarly keen interest in queer politics and history, this project seemed perfect for me. I was super excited when I knew I was able to be a part of it. Although I had thought a little about what pictures I might like to take I tried not to focus my thoughts too much until I had met Anthony and discussed the project with the group.

Typically late, I walked in on an interesting group of individuals all of whom felt an affinity to the word queer and wanted to be a part of this project as much as me. As we each shared three photos that told ‘our story’ we ended up getting a metaphorical snapshot of each person’s life and heard some moving and funny stories. As with most queer activities in Brighton, there were some friends and familiar faces. Our stories, although they spanned many miles and decades, seemed to be bound up by the shared experience of being queer, some of the pictures were intimate and political, and very much relatable.

Anthony was friendly, energetic, and thoughtful. After seeing some of his work I was more excited than ever to be involved. I really enjoy portraiture but have always really struggled to take portraits myself. I particularly loved his work with the Eastern European women in Belfast and would be over the moon if some of our photos managed to say as much as theirs did. As we discussed queer representation in society and how curators represent LGBT people, we noticed that in some ways our small group wasn’t representative. Although it’s a shame no BME people are involved with the project, I was pleased that we were all aware that our work would be missing this important perspective.
As we considered the themes we hoped to cover we talked about friends and family, places, culture, language, and politics. One thing we scrawled down particularly caught my attention: ‘Does queer life happen in queer places?’ It occurred to me that the moments I feel my queer identity most strongly in, are not queer places at all, but are specific places all the same. I have decided to use this week to photograph the places a feel most queer in such as my doctors surgery, the public toilets, and I may even go back to visit my old church to take note of my difficult time there.

We are due to meet again in just over a week and I’m already looking forward to discussing the project more and undoubtedly getting more inspiration.

Jess Bayliss

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