This project came together during a very tumultuous time in my life—when I realized just how much hatred and pain is out there in the world. I could feel it all. It was overwhelming, like a massive wave rising from dark water, towering above before bearing its entirety upon you. I’ve never felt smaller. I’ve never felt so helpless. And through all of it, I never said a word. So as I worked on this project, it changed; it changed in circumstance, form, and vision.
Queerness is typically explored vividly, for better or worse. We’re laughing in rainbow boas at Pride marches in June, then crying in the streets the next month. Queerness is policed. Queerness is criminalized. Queerness is erased. But queerness also exists in silence; it is the quiet, it is the whisper. It just is.
I usually throw around the words “visualize” and “explore” and shit like that when I write. And usually, it’s because the process is exactly as I articulated; I envision, I craft, and I create. Or at least, I give my best shot at it. But this project was different. There was no creation, no visualization, no exploration to be done. I just got out my camera, shrugged, and said “just do what comes naturally.” Because that was the idea of it all—that queerness comes naturally. That it exists in this serene state within nature, within being. It exists in peace; it exists in the soft curve of a shoulder blade, the supple folds of skin; it is sown into every fiber, every atom, as something too big for anyone to quite understand.
In my eyes, queerness is this familiar yet unknowable thing, this thing that embodies so much in my life—pain and acceptance and resilience and fear and strength. And in so many lenses, it’s warped and changed and shifted into so many things, colors sifting like a violent kaleidoscope. The duality of queerness—the way it exists at the intersection of all things—is something near impossible to conceptualize. In my mind’s eye, the vision, the context of it is a constant torrent of change as well. But I’ve come to find this to be a precious thing; an intimate manifestation of existence, a tapestry of divinity.
By Erin Davis