I wanted to bring my presentation and research into a visual realm so had to find images that would sufficiently convey my ideas. I discovered New York based photographer Leland Bobbe and his series, “Half-Drag…A Different Kind of Beauty” which I found both strange and exciting! The images evidence how alluring mashing up images can be as well as the performative nature of gender identities.
The images delve beneath what the public would usually see and reveal a hidden world, a part of a character, a dimension that lies beneath. The series offers a unique perspective on some of New York’s most famous drag queens, men who dress as ultra-glamorous women. The faces depicted in the images are cut in two. One side depicts their male identity, as the world outside would see them. On the other side their drag queen persona, their female identity. This distinction existing side by side in one image was to “explore the cross over between males and females and to break down the physical barriers that separate them,” They are bizarre and bewildering. In one shot Bobbe challenges and forces us to view two conflicting and different identities. Our need to categorize and our traditional ideas surrounding male and female identities are stretched to the extreme.
The images show how gender identities can literally be mimicked and adapted by just one person. Gender is reduced to parts: make-up, wigs, styles and poses. The images convey my suggestion that we’re all in drag perfectly and will be featured in my final video. It shows how gender is free-floating and that everyone can perform or overt a gender opposite to their biological sex.
Leland Bobbe. (2000). Leland Bobbe [online] available from< http://lelandbobbe.com/> [2 March 2014]
Cade, D L. (2013). Half-Drag Portraits Show the Before & After Transformations of NYC Drag Queens [online] available from< http://petapixel.com/2013/10/12/half-drag-photos-show-transformations-nyc-drag-queens/> [2 March 2014]
Portwood, J. (2013). The Unusual Glamour of ‘Half-Drag’ [online] available from <http://www.out.com/entertainment/popnography/2013/06/12/half-drag-leland-bobbe> [2 March 2014]
Burra, K. (2013). Leland Bobbé’s Half-Drag Photos Show New York’s Drag Queens In And Out Of Makeup [online] available from< http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/07/leland-bobbes-half-drag-makeup-photos_n_1749018.html>[2 March 2014]