The magazine of the photo-essay
July 2017 back issue
Kings and Queens in their Castles
“A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous!” Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film maker
by Tom Atwood
I see Kings and Queens in their Castles as a telling metaphor for the subjects in the series.  Many of the subjects are kings or queens of their professions — leading actors, writers, designers, politicians or journalists.  And many of the interiors of the book are visually rich in the way that medieval decorations were — with strong, deep colors and lavish fabrics.  The title, in addition to paying tribute to our dazzling drag kings and queens, is also a nod to aristocracy from history reputed to have engaged in alternative sexuality or gender practices or sensibilities.  I felt there was a need for a serious photo series of the LGBTQ community.  A lot of LGBTQ photography depicts scantily-clothed young urban subjects and seems to emphasize nudity and sexuality.  I wanted to offer a different perspective.  There was a need for a series highlighting our manifold personalities and backgrounds.  And I wanted to create a body of work that would strengthen the identity of and be a source of pride for the LGBTQ community, as well as feature role models.  Also, I
seek out subjects that sing to me.  Many gay men and women have a flair for design and have crafted some of the most intriguing living spaces in this country, which appealed to me aesthetically.  I chose to do a book because I think that art should be democratic and accessible by many. Today, in terms of the modern civil rights movement, it's helpful to highlight that LGBTQ folks are in many ways like everyone else, and as varied as society as a whole.  Yet on another level, there’s a common LGBTQ sensibility that sets us apart that I wanted to recognize and celebrate. This sensibility shares an outlook with the sensibility of creative and cultural leaders — an awareness of difference, of other, of possibility — an avant-garde mindset.  One fascinating phenomenon the series explores is just how many creative and cultural leaders are LGBTQ.  Alternative sexuality or gender practices and extraordinary talent in arts and culture often seem to be intertwined.
MOTHER FLAWLESS SABRINA, Female impersonator. New York, NY.
LYDIA BROWN, Georgetown student and disability activist. Washington, D.C.
GARY TISDALE-WOODS, Community volunteer. Greensboro, GA.
RIA PELL, Chef from Top Chef and winner of Chopped — KIKI CARR, Web developer — Atlanta, GA.
PATRICK STANDLEY & MATT RUSSELL, Farmers. Searching for a critter — Lacona, IA.
DOUG SPEARMAN, Actor from Charmed, Star Trek Voyager, Noah's Arc, Girlfriends — MARC ANTHONY SAMUEL (friend), Actor from Imperfect Sky, Avenged, Parenthood — Los Angeles, CA.
MARC WARE, Fashion designer. West Hollywood, CA.
JON FULTON ADAMS, Fashion designer — RON MEGEE, Bon vivant. Kansas City, MO
ALAN CUMMING, Tony-winning actor from Hamlet, Macbeth, Cabaret. New York, NY.
SIR MARK HAUKOHL, Real estate investor. Houston, TX.
RUFUS WAINWRIGHT, Award-winning singer and songwriter. New York, NY.
CHRISTIAN SIRIANO, Project Runway winner — BRAD WALSH, Singer. New York, NY.
MOTHER FLAWLESS SABRINA, Female impersonator. New York, NY.
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