GayFace: 1st Class is the latest art project from Ashley Kolodner, a queer photographer who has snapped over 150 LGBTQ people from six different cities in the US. Ashley is now raising funds on Kickstarter to publish a book of the portraits and reach an international audience.
You can help her do that via this link.
GayFace’s intention is to capture the beautiful diversity of gay faces, honouring people who are proud to call themselves lesbian, gay, queer, bisexual or anything else. Ashley’s approach is to photograph each subject twice – firstly with their eyes open to denote confidence and engagement and secondly with their eyes closed to signify the historically marginalised situation of LGBTQ people. Ashley then creates a series of alluring diptychs from these images. All subjects have been encouraged to make a statement about their sexual identity, and these will be included in the final book.
The overall effect is to challenge viewers’ preconceived notions about gayface i.e. what LGBTQ people look like and what they think about themselves. The “1st Class” part of the title asserts that the queer community will no longer tolerate being treated as second class citizens.
‘I hope that these photographs bring awareness, a human connection and invoke emotion,’ says Ashley on her Facebook page. ‘This project celebrates the colour, vibrancy and diversity of a community that for decades as been in the dark.’
She began the project in 2011 and has so far attracted interest from websites such as BuzzFeed and The Advocate, as well as Sirius XM Radio. In order to produce the book she needs to raise $46,720 before May 7th. That budget will not only cover the publication of a high-end, photo-quality book but allow Ashley to travel all around the US and photograph over 2,000 more gayfaces.