A transwoman and her friend.
Infrared flash photography from Gay Bar project.
Principal photography for my artists’ book Gay Bar is complete. I found it very difficult to shoot in gay bars. The doorman sees my cam and wont let me in. If I hide the cam and pull it out inside I am stopped as soon as I get started. Other bars tolerated photography for a few minutes before pulling the plug. The longest time I was allowed to shoot was for 15 to 20 minutes before I was asked to leave. Of course, this is exactly the scenario for the expert documentary photog who’s job it is to bring back the photos in tough shooting conditions.
Infrared flash photography.
I was at a group run by lesbian separatists. One lesbian that did not like me shooting the gals started pushing me around and was very abusive. As I was leaving, I was surrounded by a group of 5 or 6 lesbians that demanded I delete the photos I had just shot. First thing I do when confronted is to get my pepper spray in hand. I knew I had some good material, so I refused to delete a thing.
I could see the talking was getting nowhere and things would only get worse, so I told them the conversation was over and walked away. They followed me around the building and kept harassing me, but it was an all-talk, verbal attack with nothing physical. But, if things escalated, the hot Tabasco was ready to be served. When you are a social documentary photog, beside button pushing, self-defense must always be on your mind.
Being a very fast worker and with about 45 minutes of shooting time at various bars, I was able to amass enough photos to make an artists’ book out of them. My book will possibly hold the world record for how short a shooting session was used in making a social documentary photography book.
The photography of Gay Bar is an offshoot of my work with Piercing Darkness and was completely shot with an infrared flash and camera. It is book number two in my infrared flash photography projects.
Pro-forma schedule for printing of Gay Bar is 2017/18