In American culture, that which is misunderstood or considered outside "the norm" is oftentimes deemed "bizarre" or stigmatized. We push what we can’t relate to into a corner, a safe place where we don’t have to address it or discuss it unless it shows up at our feet unexpectedly. It's human nature to strive to be part of the pack. But for some, living outside the "norm" is what they do best.
I began this work in September, 2010 by walking into the Downcity Restaurant's Sunday drag brunch show. I was attending the show in search of subjects to photograph, but I didn't realize what a rich and beautiful culture I was stepping into. At the show, I met its coordinator and lead performer Jacqueline DeMira, who in turn introduced me to Haley Star, a friend and fellow performer. That day the three of us began a photographer-subject relationship that evolved into a friendship over the months following. Haley and Jacqueline let me photograph their lives, in and out of drag, educated me about their performance culture, and introduced me to the top tier of drag performers in the state. They showed me that drag isn't just a performance outlet, it is a way to support charities, lend support to their community, and promote change and understanding. The work these individuals do is difficult and often can be the source of harassment, but the bigger picture keeps them moving forward with enthusiasm.
The resulting photographic document is intended to be a glimpse into their lives as drag queens and function as a tool to promote acceptance and curiosity about those we don’t understand.