Name: Magnus Hastings
Who He Is: Photographer & West Hollywood man-about-town
What He Did: Hastings has made a career out of photographing queer life, publishing the photography book Why Drag? and starting the #GayFace series.
Why We’re Proud: In 2018, Hastings launched a new campaign both as a creative endeavor and as a charity program. The #GayFace campaign documents the changing and diverse face of LGBTQ at a time when Donald Trump and the forces of oppression ignited a new level of hostility. It works like this: patrons get a white box in which to pose any way they want. Poses can be as simple or outrageous. Magnus photographs his subjects, gives them a print, and then posts the images as part of the ongoing series.
I took a phrase that is traditionally meant to insult and demean individuals, flipped it, reclaimed it and asked the big question: What IS the face of “gay” in 2018? I wanted to show that it’s diverse, prideful, beautiful, strong and always defiant. I have chosen to use the word “gayface” as an all-inclusive term for LGBTQIA individuals. It’s not important if the participant identifies specifically as gay; it’s about community, family and disempowering prejudice.
The white box in this series of photos is a representation of equality. Everyone is given the same blank box and can do what they like with it. They can create a whole individual space or they can simply stand in it. The fun part is seeing what people bring to it, what they see to create. Both things are equally as effective. The white background allows the subject to create a strong shape or, by decorating the box, create a different kind of story.
The resulting photographs expose the beauty, vulnerability, and tenderness in each subject. Hastings’ artful, and often hilarious, photos contribute to worldwide visibility.
We think that’s a picture worth admiring.
Check out some examples of the #GayFace series below: