Embodiment: A Portrait of Queer Life in America

I just ran across an incredibly interesting project, Embodiment: A Portrait of Queer Life in America. It’s a collection of short films and photographic portraits of queer Americans today.

Cat & Brittany (2009) Read their story here.

The project aim is to paint (Photograph?) a collective portrait of what it now means to be queer in America; the artists, photographer Molly Landreth and videographer Amelia Tovey, sharing with us a group of people living their everyday lives. With this project the artists hope to change certain negative perceptions of the queer community as well as offer queer Americans the opportunity to speak for themselves. The portraits include those living in cities and countrysides, who are old and young, gay, bi, pan, trans and cis. They include people from a variety of backgrounds with greatly differing sexual and gender identities. They’re creating a diverse portrayal of queer America and expanding our knowledge of the queer community in general. 

Travis at Gay Skate (2005). Read Travis's story here.

The site is releasing portraits and films, including this trailer of a film they’re working on, throughout the year. 

In my Intro to LGBT Studies class a few nights ago my teacher asked us to attempt to define the word “queer”, which proved to be an impossible task. We discussed what we thought term included and what we thought it didn’t, but we were unable to pin down a concrete and concise definition. We eventually concluded that there may not be a set definition.

I mention this because of one quote that (for me) stuck out from the Embodiment trailer:

I think the strength of the identity of queer is that it really is undefinable.

And while queer may be undefinable, it’s certainly a fun and informative experience to look through Embodiment’s archives. The portraits and stories have an addictive quality; the portraits are what originally caught my eye but the personal histories and tales of love, growth, and friendship are what really drew me in.

Take a look if you have a chance, it’s a great online exhibition. You can also read their blog here.

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