Earlier this year, GAY TIMES teamed up with SKITTLES®, Getty Images and Queer Britain to find 10 emerging queer photographers and help them break into the world of arts, media or advertising.
The lack of opportunities and the cost of camera equipment has left many unable to afford the essentials required to develop their skills and follow a career as a photographer. This is no doubt one of the reasons we see so many issues with LGBTQIA+ representation in media and advertising.
What’s clear is that the photographs we often see depicting queer people don’t accurately represent the intersections and diverse spectrum of LGBTQIA+ identities. That’s why, SKITTLES® is committed to helping millions of people to See The Rainbow by improving LGBTQIA+ representation through photography.
Joel Rodriguez (he/him), one of our awarded winners, captures the solidarity present in the self-made LGBTQIA+ safe space Queer Cuts. Here’s what Rodriguez had to say about their experience:
“Queer Cuts was born due to a lack of safe spaces for queer people, especially femme-presenting trans people who didn’t feel comfortable going to traditional salons. Alyx (she/they) has worked within the hairdressing industry for a long time but she took a break after realising she didn’t like how the traditional setting worked” he explains. “So her friends encouraged her to open up a space for queer people; a place where she could give people what they wanted in a non-judgemental environment.”
Rodriguez adds: “Alyx mentions that it is of great importance to have queer creatives like me to capture spaces like hers as we can relate and understand the narrative of her work, why and who she’s doing it for. It is a way to protect our community and show to others we are also human, we are all the same. Our gender and sexuality don’t define us as a person. We are really interesting people and we’ve got a lot more going on for us than just our sexuality.”
Alyx, the founder of Queer Cuts, has been building supportive relationships with her clients to make them feel comfortable and understood without any feelings of judgement. “A lot of my clients are friends now,” she explains. “I don’t change who I am at work and outside of work, I treat everyone the same and that’s what my clients like.”
Keep an eye out for more Queer Joy events from other Bursary photographers in the coming months.