Queer Youth Utopias
The Autumn 2022 Photoworks Worthing LGBTQ+ Photography took discourses around Queer Utopias as a starting point to explore the way photography can offer us a visual window into the future, allowing us to see and feel beyond the present.
This programme of workshops drew from ideas present in the work of contemporary Queer practitioners around the building of a photographic 'set' to hold and create space for future narratives.
Images below depict responses by the young people to prompts around exploring how we see and how others see us, layering imagery together to take the viewer beyond one picture plane, creating image worlds within self-portraits.
Sessions also drew from a recent exhibition at Wex Arts in Ohio, North America. Sharing Circles: Carol Newhouse and the WomenShare Collective explored the Queer Oregon land-based community movement of the 1970's. World-building responses took the form of constructing wooden maquettes to resemble the foundations of buildings from wooden dowels, adding images that reflected the group's own visual affirmations for a Queer Utopia.
Setting the Scene:
The group's responses to discussions around utopias, their future self, and community formed the final collective outcome - part puzzle pieces, part visual manifesto for the future, each participant contributed an image. When the collection of images was installed each piece was sometimes hidden, sometimes more visible, and changed with time, angles, and at the hands of different constructors.
Building the sets:
Ahead of the Worthing LGBTQ+ Photography Club starting Eva delivered taster sessions across West Sussex Secondary Schools. Images below show a workshop devised for Steyning Grammer School, looking at visual assemblage techniques, mirroring, and layering to explore how we see ourselves and are seen by others.