22 Stunning Queer Photography Projects Showcasing LGBT Community Diversity

13. JJ Levine’s Queer Portraits

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Levine’s large-scale photography project captures his own community of friends, lovers and siblings in their own domestic spaces in Montreal, Canada, aiming to expose the intricacies of what we surround ourselves with in our homes as queers often alienated by public spaces. Of the project, Levine writes: “I am interested in expressing fierceness, beauty, and resistance through the confrontational gaze of my subjects and the aesthetic of a queer subculture, a goal that underlies the series and my work as a whole.”


14. Lupe Salinas’ Las Otras

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This series of portraits by Salinas, a New York based artist from Idaho, was her way of  “(re)imaging an often disregarded group through collaborative image and text, “Las Otras” offers insight to (re)think and (re)visualize the Queer Latin@ identity.


15. Barbara Proud’s First Comes Love

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For her “traveling exhibition of photographs that document the lives and relationships of couples in the LGBT community,” Barbara Proud has been photographing same-sex couples who have been together for over ten years since 2009. In addition to being exhibited in locations across the country, First Comes love is also a video and a book.


16. Ashley Kolodner’s GAYFACE

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Ashley photographed queers with their eyes closed and open — offering first vulnerability, and then looking you straight in the eyeballs. In her artist statement, Kolodner declared, “this collection of works is done to portray the innovative, personal, and participatory face of the gay movement and American culture at large and in the home.”


17. Angela Jiminez’s Womyn’s Land

There are certainly lots of controversies regarding the creation and execution of lesbian separatist’s communities over time, but these lands are a vital element of our history and Jimenez’s project, commissioned by The New York Times, is one of only a few focused on lesbian elders. There are over 100 “below-the-radar lesbian communities” in North America, and Jimenez visited many of them to record a style that many fear is near extinction.


18. Bernd Ott & Emily Besa’s All The People

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The pair behind this project traveled around the world talking to people about their gender expression and identity. Although the project is not explicitly LGBTQ, there are certainly myriad overlaps with the queer and trans community. Besa told Buzzfeed, “A lot of projects we found tend to focus on one aspect of being non-binary or non-conforming and we were particularly interested in relating the infinite possibilities of gender expression and identity.”


19. Jess T Dugan’s Every Breath We Drew

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Dugan wanted to look at her vision of masculine identity, what it means to be a man, and how fluid that identity is in different contexts. “These gender roles are failing everyone, not just trans people,” Dugan told Slate.com. “We need to unravel that and give everyone some breathing room.”


20. Toni Latour’s The Femme Project

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Latour documented and interviewed self-identified queer femmes in her Vancouver community, seeking to give visual representation to a group “in a world where invisibility is common.” “In bringing participants in to record their stories and capture their images, The Femme Project relays parts of their lives to wider audiences,” writes Toni, “both uniting the group and offering insights into their commonalities and differences.”


21. Robin Hammond’s Where Love Is Illegal

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Robin Hammond visited seven countries where persecution of LGBTI people is widespread, and connected with local activists who helped him find subjects who had been survivors of discrimination and abuse. He eventually expanded the project to include LGBTI people from all over the world who had experienced discrimination, recording their stories and images on instagram and raising money through his non-profit Witness Change, which aims to produce “highly visual storytelling on seldom-addressed human rights abuses.”


22. Meg Allen’s “Butch

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I’m gonna be honest and tell you that this series really butters my bread in so many ways. I could probably just look at this for the rest of my life and be totally content. She captures a diverse array of subjects inhabiting a variety of interpretations of a butch identity, including some familiar faces — and even a few couples!

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There’s a silver-haired firefighter, a bartender with a chihuahua tattoo, a cartoonist in Mutant Ninja Turtles pajamas, a weightlifter, a biker, a pregnant woman, the St. Harridan folks, a BDSM author, and so many ties, cute haircuts, wrinkles. “BUTCH is an adjective,” says Allen, who began the project just photographing her friends and then branched out into every corner of the butch universe. “And like all adjectives, it is fluid and subjective. Just as there are many types of hot women, there are many types of butches…”


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Riese

Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3178 articles for us.

35 Comments

      • Sadly because there’s not a lot of photojournalists who are women or nonbinary people and it makes me uncomfortable when men gain widespread recognition for being paid to travel the world taking pictures of women and nonbinary people who remain largely anonymous. That recognition is often based on the idea that men are objective and rational and show us the truth about the world in ways in which women and nonbinary people cannot.

    • fixed! I think I just assumed “robin” was a girl because I usually have only known female robins! but yeah it’s also a boy’s name. like robin hood! thanks for pointing it out!

  1. so happy to see jj levine included here!

    also can’t wait to take a look at all these great projects.

  2. I love these kinds of projects!! So happy to see Meg Allen’s “Butch” in this! And the Womyn’s Land series- yes, women’s land is problematic, but for me personally, spending time on queer land affiliated with the southern Oregon women’s land network was deeply healing and transformative. We have to honor our history and also use it as a springboard to learn from and grow. Great compilation!

  3. I referenced Meg Allen’s Butch so much in my MA work because wow. Someday I hope to be a part of a list like this…someday. But I’m all about the long exposure visibility thing. Best get back to writing those proposals.

  4. What beautiful portraits! We are just starting out in Thailand with our Queers of Bangkok photo Project to celebrate the diversity of queer in and around the places the people love to be themselves in Bangkok. Take a look on Queermango.com.

  5. Great to see some projects here I didn’t know about. Also wondering how you totally missed Handsome Revolution Project also a project from the Bay Area, i love the vision behind the project and think it’s important and well deserving of this or any list.
    http://www.handsomerevolution.com/

    • welp, i love it. i spent a few weeks combing the web for projects to include, i’m surprised i didn’t find this on either, i wish i had!

  6. Great list! I used a lot of these as research material when writing my dissertation and found them hugely inspiring – I did a final project on queer identities for my Photography degree from university. Particularly Katie Koti and Molly Landreth were big influences.

    Shameless self plug here, but here is my queer photographt portrait project based in Scotland. It anybody wants to check it out you can find it on my website: http://tiumakkonen.com ! :)

    In addition to taking straight forward portraits, I wanted to add an element of collaboration to the photo shoots, so I attached a long cable release to the camera so the participants themselves where actually the ones pressing the shutter. I also included hand written notes from each person :) I’m really hoping to continue this series!

  7. These photo projects are very very important. I’m grateful for the hard work that artists put into representing the diversity of the community. Cheers!

  8. These are wonderful! I first learned about We Are The Youth a while back and love it. I hadn’t heard about the Identity Project before, but it looks really cool! Can’t wait to explore all of these galleries.

  9. You all should look into the Young Women’s Alliance in Nee Mexico. They have a great LGBTQIA photography project, as well as a gorgeous reproductive rights art project

  10. This collection is so inspiring! While I do more with costume design than photography, I’m an artist of all sorts and would love to collaborate with anyone around NYC and just make some queer and beautiful work. Seeing all of these stunning projects is really kicking me towards just putting things out there- thanks so much for putting this together!

  11. I would add my recent work on the performers at the gay cabarets in Havana. These are transgender women, men beginning the transition process, and female impersonators. In the absence of any open, visible, safe lGTBTQ community in Cuba, the cabarets have functioned as community centers where health education is promoted and advocacy for greater civil rights is organized.

  12. I found the article to be well-written and engaging. As a professional maternity photographer, I was particularly interested in the topic and look forward to exploring it further in a potential project focused on the LGBT community.

    My photography portfolio can be viewed at

    https://ilasagar.com/maternity-portfolio/

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