TQU’s photo competition: Every month a different topic, chosen by a different judge. A Glance is the topic of January’s photo competition, chosen by Adrien Leavitt.
Adrien Leavitt is a photographer, among other things. With #1 must have a photo zine for queers, he started introducing us to members of the queer community in Seattle already in 2011. This self-published zine that he put out with co-promoter, co-owner and fellow DJ at Seattle’s LICK! parties, Slaven, was a first step towards celebrating diverse queer people and documenting our existence at a certain time and place. With his newest project Queer Feelings he explores queerness and our intimate, complex relationship with our bodies, both physically and emotionally. Adrien Leavitt is the judge for TQU’s photo competition in January 2018.
TQU: What inspired you to start working with photography and to choose portraits, especially portraits of queer people, as your main subject?
Adrien Leavitt: I love portrait photography. It is the work that I’m drawn to viewing – from fine art portraits to the most causal portraits of people on Instagram. I am intrigued by portraiture as a way to be seen and a way to see others. It is a powerful medium to present ourselves and to see ourselves, both literally and through others. My work in portrait photography started in a large part by taking self portraits. I was struggling by never seeing representations of myself. Even in queer media, I didn’t feel like there were bodies like mine and genders like mine. The process of making self-portraits was like my own journal. After some time, moving into taking portraits of other queer and trans people seemed like the next step to exploring these ideas of self and identity. My queer and trans identity is so central to who I am as a person and my experience in this world, so I cannot imagine focusing my work on anything other than on other queer and trans people.
TQU: When taking your pictures how do you manage to create an atmosphere of trust for the people you work with?
AL: I love this question and it’s so difficult to answer! I don’t always know… my hope is that people feel trust in me and are comfortable in the experience of taking photos together. I value and respect the experience with each person, which I hope translates to each photoshoot.
TQU: Is there something that you learned by experience that you wish you had known before you started as a photographer?
AL: I wish that I knew that there is no “perfect” photograph. A photograph is more than the technical elements, it is a feeling, it is the translation of an experience, it is sharing a moment… it doesn’t have to be in focus or with perfect lighting or with the best technical elements. It is about sharing a moment or a feeling, about communicating that to the viewer, and doing that with intention.
TQU: What does a glance mean to you?
A glance is your first look, a moment when you look over, not sure if you should keep looking, a quick moment in time where you capture a fleeting moment, maybe a person glances back, maybe the moment is gone.
Enter the photo competition:
|1.||Take an original picture or use a picture you took earlier, and make sure you have the right to publish the picture. If there’s another person but you in the picture, make sure you have written consent that you’re allowed to publish that picture. Write one or two sentences, why you picked the submitted picture. Only one submission per competition.|
|2.||There are three options to submit your photo: send your picture, one or two sentences about the picture, your country and your name and age (if you want) to the art department via email, upload it below, or upload it on Instagram using the hashtag #PhotoCompetitionTQU.|
|3.||On the 1st of February all pictures will be uploaded and you can invite your friends to vote for your picture for ten days.|
|4.||The winners will be announced during the week after the 10th of February. Prizes for all four winners will be gift packages from the TQU shop.|