Art21 Magazine, 2014
An Amazon search for photography books returns well over 100,000 titles. Narrow that search to explicitly gay or queer portraiture and the return is infinitesimal by comparison. The photographer Gerard H. Gaskin knew when he secured his first book deal that it was a feat not just for him but also for the queer community he’s photographed for nearly twenty years. Gaskin has been called the official photographer of the house ballroom scene that was “born out of a need for black and Latino gays to have a safe space to express themselves,” he writes. “My images try to show a personal and intimate beauty, pride, dignity, courage, and grace that has been painfully challenged by mainstream society.”
On an overcast afternoon, Gaskin and I met for lunch in the Chelsea/Flatiron district of New York City, not far from the Art21 headquarters. Between bites of thin-crust cheese pizza topped with black olives, he told me about the long road to Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene, which comes out this month.