Snapshots of Pride Across Time

This post is sponsored by HBO and Gentleman Jack.

Sometimes it’s impossible not to marvel at how far we’ve come in the past 50 years; sometimes it feels like nothing has changed at all. That last feeling is bittersweet; it’s incredibly painful to still be struggling with the same inequalities and dangers that our predecessors did, and it’s indescribably affirming to look to the previous generation and see ourselves, our relationships and style and humor and fierce resolution. This series was an opportunity to honor our queer history by recreating iconic pride photographs through a modern lens, making explicit the connection between the past and the present that forms the living legacy we’re all a part of.

We began this project by choosing images from historic LGBTQ protests and pride parades that incorporated a message or captured an energy we thought might be interesting to reimagine. We were able to recruit queer folks online who were excited to participate. Mika, our wardrobe stylist and Autostraddle’s resident style expert, sourced updated versions of the looks in the original photographs. Our production designer Mauricio skillfully replicated the original signs, posters, banners and props in each photograph. We found a shooting location with similar textures to a lot of our images, which heavily feature New York City brick and industrial-looking backdrops.

The day of our shoot, we had 17 subjects come in from all over Southern California. Each of them was fitted for wardrobe and put into quick hair and makeup with our talented stylist Marla Verdugo. While each person was in wardrobe, our camera team would scout, set up and photograph each of the 9 images we wanted to recreate. Special thank you to Sara Tollefson and Selina Ruthe for assisting me with this and climbing many stairs and hauling equipment. I was slightly concerned about staging images created at a crowded event in a controlled setting but we talked through what elements and tone we wanted to convey in each image and I’m so happy with the results!

We want to thank our entirely LGBTQ cast and our amazing crew for their participation in this series. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Photo by Diana Davies, courtesy of The New York Public Library. “Gay rights demonstration, Albany, New York, 1971 [80]” Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library.The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1971.
Photo: Robin Roemer, Photographer/Producer Model: Courtney Coles

Christopher Street West, West Hollywood July 21, 1981 Photographer Unknown. Courtesy of the ONE Archives at the USC Libraries (CSW collection: 2012-135)
Photo: Robin Roemer, Photographer/Producer Models: Adam Ceja, Mauricio Abud Friederichsen, Rosa Linares, Selina Ruthe
Photo by Diana Davies, courtesy of The New York Public Library. “Gay rights demonstration, Albany, New York, 1971 [57]” Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1971.
Photo: Robin Roemer, Photographer/Producer Model: Courtney Coles
Marsha P Johnson (left) and Sylvia Rivera (right) lead the Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR) contingent, Christopher Street Liberation Day NYC June 24, 1973, Photo by Leonard Fink. Via The LGBT Community Center National History Archive (Fink collection: 24-03)
Photo: Robin Roemer, Photographer/Producer Models: Faithlynn Blak, Freya Martinez
Photo by Diana Davies, courtesy of The New York Public Library. “Three members of Lavender Menace at the Second Congress to Unite Women, New York, 1970 May” Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1970.
Photo: Robin Roemer, Photographer/Producer Models: Dened Rey, Drew Gregory, Aurora Berger
Photo by Diana Davies, The New York Public Library. Weinstein Hall demonstrations, NYC Oct 1970, Manuscripts and Archives Division, the NY Public Library
Photo: Robin Roemer, Photographer/Producer Model: Dened Rey
Coalition Against Racism, Anti-Semitism, Sexism and Heterosexism (CRASH) protests the Family Protection Act July 1981 Photo by Richard C. Wandel courtesy of The LGBT Community Center National History Archive (Wandel collection 4a-007)
Photo: Robin Roemer, Photographer/Producer Model: Gini Benson
ACT UP at the National Institutes of Health, 1990
Photo by Donna Binder

Photo: Robin Roemer, Photographer/Producer Models: Mitch Monroy, Audrey Hollis, Eva Gonzalez-Ruskiewicz, Angela Glanzer
Photo by Diana Davies, courtesy of The New York Public Library. “Donna Gottschalk holds poster “I am your worst fear I am your best fantasy” at Christopher Street Gay Liberation Day parade, 1970″ Manuscripts and Archives Division. The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1970.
Photo: Robin Roemer, Photographer/Producer Model: Brenda Bowers
Boston Bisexual Women’s Network members (including Robyn Ochs, second from right) Christopher Street Liberation Day, NYC June 26, 1983. Photographer unknown. Courtesy of the Lesbian Herstory Archives (Instagram: @lesbianherstoryarchives)
Photo: Robin Roemer, Photographer/Producer Models: Juan Paolo V. Moraga (JP), Talia Candle, Bre Ulrich, Valerie Lohman

Many of our images can be found in the book We Are Everywhere: Protest Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation, by Matthew Reimer & Leighton Brown


Robin Roemer, Photographer/Producer

Creative Team:
Wardrobe Styling: Mika Gael Albornoz
Production Design: Mauricio Abud Friederichsen
Hair and Makeup: Marla Verdugo
First Assistant: Sara Tollefson
Second Assistant: Selina Ruthe

Models:
Valerie Lohman
Juan Paolo V. Moraga (JP)
Talia Candle
Adam Ceja
Rosa Linares
Courtney Coles
Freya Martinez
Faithlynn Blak
Aurora Berger
Dened Rey
Bre Ulrich
Gini Benson
Brenda Bowers
Audrey Hollis Mitch Monroy
Eva Gonzalez-Ruskiewicz
Angela Glanzer
Drew Gregory


Robin specializes in entertainment, lifestyle and portrait photography. She's also a Creative Producer, Director of Photography and co-owner of Scheme Machine Studios LLC, her production company based in Los Angeles. Robin loves shooting for TV and film and has worked with media companies like Legendary Pictures and Viacom. She shot and directed the Pride campaign for Google called #ThisIsFamily. Robin has had the pleasure of working on national campaigns for companies like Dove and Levis, and had the unique opportunity to shoot for non-profits and initiatives such as The Black List, Save the Children, Move to End Violence, Have a Hart Day, and The Clinton Global Initiative. She is most proud of the work she has done with organizations such as The Ad Council and RAINN working on national impact campaigns. Her celebrity roster includes Cyndi Lauper, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, The B-52s, Keri Hilson, JB Smoove, Tegan and Sara, Margaret Cho, The B-52’s, Andreja Pejic, and many more. She was there for Autostraddle’s birth and proudly served as A-Camp co-director for many years.

Robin has written 84 articles for us.

19 Comments

  1. I really love this! It made me so happy Robin. I really love those old photos so much. It makes me emotional thinking about those amazing people putting themselves out there in times that were so much crueler and more isolating than today. They were so brave.

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    love this

  3. I look at this and I wonder: is this my history? Are these ‘my people’?

    I am a lesbian trans woman living in Berlin, and I was alive when the Stonewall riot happened. All I ever had from the LGBT (or whatever alphabet soup you prefer) community: exclusion, massive transmisogyny, non- recognition as a woman, ridicule, TERF vilification and demonisation and the threat of organized violence always hanging in the air.

    It is clearly their history, they own it: predominantly white German middle class gay cis men, the TERF-dominated Lesbian scene, and the tourists of course. This year, CSD (Christopher Street Day) # 41, they openly appropriate this history as theirs. They appropriate Marsha Johnson, they appropriate Audre Lorde, they appropriate Lili Elbe. Half a million people will celebrate Pride.

    A TERF incident like at London Pride 2018 or Europride 2019 will probably not happen. The TERFs so successfully excluded trans women from the happy Alphabet Soup family from the 1970s onwards that there is no need to do so by shrill aggressive means. Mute, strangling, choking means are far more effective here.Pseudo- inclusion, gaslighting, permanent humiliation. And of course they have their own Pride event, Berlin Dyke*March – the asterisk being the commonplace means to express that there are real women and lesbians, and mentally ill impostors who wrongly believe or pretend they are women (Frauen*).

    I never go to Pride. Apart from the danger of physical assault, why would I celebrate my own erasure?

    Trans women have no community. Trans women have no allies. Not here.

    Maybe one day this will be also trans womens’ history here. In another 50 years perhaps.

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