1. “GayFace” is a current collection of works by New York City photographer and artist Ashley Kolodner (pictured below).
Ashley (pictured below) explains on the “GayFace” Facebook page that the goal of her project is to break down barriers that the LGBTQ community is living with. The project will hopefully give this community, “the voice it deserves and the power to speak their truth.”
2. Each subject is photographed with their eyes closed, and then eyes open.
The artist photographed the subjects this way because, “closing their eyes gives the viewer a sense of the subjects’ vulnerability.” The eyes open allows the subject to look the viewer directly in the eye.
BuzzFeed: What inspired you to begin this project?
Ashley Kolodner: As a gay woman and an artist, I felt it was of the utmost importance to give the LGBTQ Community a platform to express their voice and their truth. I want to show the many faces of this community, the diversity and the strength it takes to be who they are each day. The LGBTQ community are not second class citizens in this great nation, and they deserve the same rights as everyone else.
BuzzFeed: What do you hope the project teaches people about the gay/queer community?
AK: I hope that these photographs brings awareness, a human connection and can educate those who may have friends and/or family within the LGBTQ community. The LGBTQ community still struggle to find equal footing. We want acceptance, love and respect socially and politically.
BuzzFeed: Will this project continue on in the future? And if so, where do you see it going?
AK: Yes, this is an ongoing project. I have plans to cover the US and eventually travel internationally. So far I’ve traveled to DC, NYC and Boston. In the next two months I’ll be going to Chicago, Ithica New York, New Jersey and all down the California coast. In August I am planning on launching a Kick Starter campaign for GAYFACE 1st Class, to raise money for myself and a crew to cover 30 more US States. The photographs are just the first part of this project. Once the photographs are complete, there will be gallery shows, projections of these photographs on buildings and landmarks, street art, and a book produced with all comments and stories shared from the photographed subjects’ experiences. I’ve put together a film crew that has been and will continue to document the whole process in hopes to put together a documentary by the end of our first road trip.
Check out more of Ashley’s work here.