Leland Bobbé, a New York based photographer, has compiled a series of stunning and complex images that further examine the drag queen persona, what it consist of, its controversies, and multifaceted physical aspects.His ongoing project, ‘Half-Drag . . . A Different Kind of Beauty’, has made a huge impact. Consequently, landing the photographer several awards and features in international art fairs.
The collection provides the viewer with an interesting perspective. These photographs, composed and stylized through the power of hair and makeup, are captured in one snap, and are not digitally composed- which is a lot to take on, knowing that the process could have been much easier having used Photoshop or other editing programs.
I think that Bobbé artistic choices say a lot about the points he is trying to convey with this collection of images. Moreover, there would only be this much vulnerability and honesty if the images were captured this way, and in this way only. Having his sitters pose with their two identities up-front and exposed is one hell of a statement. The sincerity, humble approach of the photographer and sitter alike, lets us in on the queens’ little secret and questions gender constructs, current law, human right initiatives and the possible lack-there-of.
The portraits can be quite shocking- as many of us are used to seeing drag queens under a very different light, and often ridiculed. The frontal view of both their ‘sexualities’, diverges from the mainstream conception of the typical drag-queen profile- making us more aware of their humanity, their truth, and day-to-day routine.
“With this series my intention is to capture both the male and the alter ego female side of these subjects in one image in order to explore the cross over between males and females and to break down the physical barriers that separate them.” – Leland Bobbé