Hand, 2016, Inkjet Print, 40 x 30 in.
“Queer Straight Photographs”
Judith Butler poses a potent question in the 1999 preface to her landmark text “Gender Trouble” (1990) in which she asks: “What does transparency keep obscure?” In this passage Butler addresses her detractors who decried her use of dense theoretical language to describe the phenomena of gender performance. At the same time, she is challenging the popular demand that complex issues be explained in simpler terms. I was interested in using this idea as a way to address the substance of queer identity formation through the lens of straight photography.
“Queer Straight Photographs” (2016-2017) is, on the one hand, about interrogating straightness as a stylized way of photographic-seeing and photographic image-making. The project is simultaneously concerned with the limitations of a photograph as a means to fully describe, disclose, and reveal information about the subject matter depicted. I am interested not only in broad cultural assumptions that accompany photographic interpretation (as well as presumed knowledge of its maker, especially in relation to the categories of sexuality, gender, and race), but also the myriad interpretive possibilities that emerge when such certainty cannot be guaranteed.