2019 Award Recipient
Rochester Institute of Technology
The bouncer at the goth club, Vertex, told me, “The people here do not feel like they fit in anywhere else. That’s why the regulars have been coming here for, in some cases, 20 years.”
My project is about the underground, the behind the scenes, and the performance of nightlife. It is meant to move “chronically” as it begins with the subjects getting ready to go out for the night and/or perform, then moving into the performance and the night out, and then ending with the last moments of the night.
During high school, I never felt comfortable at parties. I felt like I was not being true to myself, like I was putting on a false front for people whom I was not truly friends with. That feeling was the initial inspiration for this project.
Each one of the places I visited are communities in Rochester where people feel comfortable being themselves. I went to drag and burlesque shows, the homes of drag queens, a strip club, a goth themed night club, and a gay bar.
I reached out to these people because I find their hobbies and social lives a very interesting expression of what they do for a night out. I discovered that a lot of these subjects’ identities are exposed in this project. There are vulnerable and open to my camera, yet they have a sense of pride for what they do while they are out with friends or working.
Through my role as a photographer, I want to show the way my camera is a key to accessing these communities. If I weren’t a photographer, I would not have been able to explore these communities in the nightlife scene. My interest is people and life in general, but also exploring new environments, something that photography has been very helpful for. I plan to continue down that path of accessing communities I would not be able to without my camera.