5 Queer Photographers You Should Be Following

As LGBTQIA+ people, we deserve to be represented and affirmed in the media. When the media won’t represent us as we know we deserve, we must represent and affirm ourselves. As South African activist and artist Zanele Muholi said, “If I wait for someone else to validate my existence, it will mean that I’m shortchanging myself.”

Following queer media was a crucial step for me as I grew into my queerness and began to feel seen and affirmed. Especially as a photographer myself, seeing queer photographers excel at their craft has pushed me to work on my own. Here are 5 queer photographers you should be following.

1. Alexis Hunley

Links ⋒ alexishunley.com@byalexishunley

Alexis is a Black queer portrait photographer and visual storyteller based in Los Angeles. Most recently, she has been documenting Black Lives Matters protests, importantly speaking about the need for white folks to decenter themselves and follow Black leadership.

Another project “Lovers or Friends?” sheds light on our need for human touch and physical contact. She wrote, “As a queer Black woman, I have found that the LGBTQ+ community has consistently been a model for intimacy that extends beyond what our society has deemed as “normal.” Love is love – and we choose to love and support each other in spaces where others may be unable to love us as we are. We all need a reminder that our needs for touch and intimate connections are normal.”

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The Inbetween || We have had quite a year. A pandemic has disproportionately hit Black communities and devastated families. Millions of people are unemployed. Black people continue to be subgugated to violence at the hands of police and other players upholding systemic White supremacy and anti-Blackness. I am exhausted. And I know my friends, family, and neighbors are too. We have families to feed, children to play with, laundry that needs to be folded, work that needs to be done, yards that need to be tended to, masks to procure, groceries to sanitize, and bills that need to be paid. This photo essay for @rollingstone was a much needed respite from the emotional weight that accompanies photographing the current protests and uprisings. It is a quick glimpse into the lives of the ones I love most as we all do our best in those inbetween moments full of rest, recovery, grief, and joy. Thank you @photoeditorjoe and @mariawurtz for creating space for me to share moments with people I cherish. Thank you @mandy_pick , @everyone_calls_me_q , @geezus_piece , @kennyb2424 , @yothatsevan , @azardixit , @kristin__nelson , mom, dad, and Luna for trusting me and allowing me to create with you 🖤 . . . #byalexishunley #adoberesidency #adobecommunityfund #lightroom #photoshop #RollingStone #quarantinediary #theperfectstorm #femalephotographer #blackfemalephotographer #blackphotographer #laphotographer #losangeles #breonnataylor #georgefloyd #TonyMcDade #blm #icantbreathe #lapd #lasd #laprotests #90043 #theinbetween

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2. Naima Green

Links ⋒ naimagreen.com@naimagreen

Naima Green is an artist and educator who lives between Brooklyn, NY and Mexico City, Mexico. She holds an MFA in Photography from ICP–Bard, an MA from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a BA from Barnard College. Her works are featured nationally in galleries and museums.

Her most recent project, Pur·suit, is a deck of 54 playing cards featuring photographs of queer womxn, trans, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming people.

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My hair doesn't want to be straight. Vol. 1

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Tiffany, from “Pur·suit,” 2018–present

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Chicago 🌿🦠💚 📸 @nolis

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3. Sami Lane

Links ⋒ @samilaneco

I know about Sami through her wife, Brit Barron, a Black queer pastor I follow who recently released a book. Sami documents their beautiful life and travels together through her Instagram – including their recent move to Austin, Texas.

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sayulita, mexico 2020 #kodakportra400

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maui, hawaii 2020 #kodakportra400

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4. Amber Montalvo

Links ⋒ @amberr.montalvo@loveme.natural.official

I know Amber from attending the same undergrad institution. She holds a B.A. in Educational Studies, and she is also the Founder of Love Me Natural, a project that advocates for the acceptance of and respect for Black hair culture.

Amber is one of my favorite digital storytellers. She perfectly blends visuals with important dialogue. She is currently abroad in Italy, and I am living through her photography.

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Rediscovering my style has been an incredible journey

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Sometimes, she’s my mood.

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5. Zanele Muholi

Links ⋒ @muholizanele@facesandphases interview with aperture

I first learned about South African photographer and visual activist Zanele Muholi from her series “Faces and Phases” (2006-2016). She photographed black and white portraits of Black lesbian and transgender people from South Africa and beyond. More recently, she has been producing self-portraits.

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