Documentary photography series follows group of Icelandic drag artists

One of my favourite sources of inspiration - Creative Boom just published a story on photography project F*CK GENDER. Thank you Gógó StarrDeff StarrWonda Starr - Wanda StarJames the CreatureBoyToy TonyStarina and all the rest for your good looks in those photos ;)

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For the past nine months, Reykjavik-based documentary photographer, TV reporter and writer, Kaspars Bekeris, has been undertaking a project, which involves capturing portraits of drag artists performing in Iceland.

F*CK GENDER presents a raw depiction of the day-to-day activities and pre-performance routines of a number of artists, choosing drag as their medium. The series was exhibited during Pride Week, Gaukurinn.

Bekeris explains: “When I started the project, I wasn’t familiar with this form of art. I have never been to a drag show before, so I expected to take pictures of all that glitter and glamour - perfect make-up, colourful wigs, wild costumes. Well, I found all of that, but also so much more.

”My aim was to document drag as a critique of the artificial nature of gender. But instead of that I became more and more interested with the people themselves. I realised that gender is not important, because of the simple fact that there is no such thing as gender.

”The first thing I noticed about the Icelandic drag scene was, of course, how small it is. And how insanely dedicated are those people. I can only imagine how hard it must be to keep it alive in such a small community. And it is really hard to be a drag artist, as well. You should be an extremely talented human being to even consider it.

”They should be good at dancing, directing, lip-syncing or even singing; they should be make-up artists, designers, sewers, comedians, actors and more. You simply wouldn’t be doing all of that if you were not enjoying the whole thing.

”But if we skip all that, there is just one important thing I can walk away with after spending the last six months with these wonderful people, and that is the pure enjoyment of being just the way you are.”

Check out more of Kaspars' work at www.estrangedmag.com and on Instagram.

All images courtesy of Kaspars Bekeris

F*CK GENDER: Drag Photography Exhibition Opens At Gaukurinn

And then there was this as well...

The Reykjavik Grapevine:

Kaspars Bekeris is a former TV reporter and journalist in his native Latvia, and the photographer who has been steadily documenting Drag-Súgur’s work for over half a year now. In celebration of Pride week, an exhibition of his work with Drag-Súgur and other artists on the scene, titled ‘F*CK GENDER,’ will be on show at Gaukurinn. It’s the night before the exhibition when we speak, and he’s busy preparing lightboxes and staff for the big day.

Destroy, mock, add

“I want to say right away that I am not in any way an expert on drag,” Kaspars explains. “If I were to talk about my understanding of this form of art, it would say more about me than it would the art itself. I was there to document drag as a critique of the artificial nature of gender, but I quickly became more and more interested in the people themselves. They are really powerful artists—it is a pleasure to see how drag performers destroy, mock, or add new layers of gender identity. As a photographer, I just try to witness that and let them tell their story.”

He certainly does. Often taken close-up, Kaspars’ photographs capture the small details of the act of gendering in a way that brings visual ambiguity to the forefront of his compositions. They share with drag a certain ambiguity, which creates a space for expression.

BEHIND THE SCENES OF ICELAND’S DRAG WORLD

Wow, one of the world's greatest and most interesting queer blogs is writing about the exhibition F*CK GENDER! 

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During the Pride week bar Gaukurinn will be presenting a photo exhibition by Kaspars Bekeris. A selection of behind the scenes photographs taken during several drag shows and a drag contest in Reykjavik and Akureyri this year.
— GayIceland.is