About this project
“What Dyke Looks Like” (WDLL) is a portrait anthology of lesbian, queer, lgbtq identified women illustrating the reality and sometimes surreality of today’s gay lady/lesbro. Each participant is encouraged to present their idea of what “dyke looks like” to/for them.
This project seeks to take a closer look at what real queer women actually look like versus the stereotypes/preconceptions that people may have of their looks and lives. Cue images of Burly girls resplendent in plaid from head to toe or "The L word" gang in their completely "realistic" interpretation of gay life.
They are from all walks of life, class and creed, come in every shape and form, and though they may love box, they should not be defined in one.
I have been photographing this project since 2011 and have photographed well over 100 women in Brooklyn, Toronto, Vancouver, Seattle and many smaller communities throughout Canada and the U.S.
Saying "This is What Dyke Looks Like" is a bold statement. And it will never be a true one without an international scope beyond just the North American perspective.
In February of 2014 the world's eyes will be on Russia.
In light of the recent homophobia, violence towards queers and anti gay laws, I think right before the Olympics is the perfect time to go to Moscow and collect the stories of the LGBT community there through video interviews and photography.
Learn more about the anti-gay climate in Russia today:
Cis gendered men are not usually part of WDLL (for obvious reasons) but the importance of hearing the voices of the entire LGBTQ community supercedes our regular mandate.
I photograph each session for free and cover all costs (95%) out of pocket or through donations/other forms of support (5%.)
Each participant is encouraged to present their idea of "what dyke/lesbian/queer looks like” to/for them.
Concepts can range from the simple: “What dyke looks like me!” to the abstract: ” I don’t identify with most of the mainstream concepts of what a gay woman is, so I feel like a fish out of water.”and I collaborate with them to illustrate that visually.
What I'll use your monies for:
- Translators, both in Russia and at home when transcribing video footage.
- Production costs, as mentioned above travel, props, and snacks for participants add up.
- Local fixer costs (fancy journalist word for local guide)
- Printing costs to show the Russia images in galleries upon return to Canada.
- Rewards production costs, we've got some great incentives and haven't cut corners on quality to produce them.
I am a photographer, freelance multimedia journalist and visual designer.
I have been lucky enough to work for charities, and be published in newspapers/magazines in Ghana, Zimbabwe, Taiwan, The Philippines, Thailand, South Africa, Kenya, Singapore, Germany and North America.
You can see more of my work at www.kristyboyce.com
Though I've been able to take What Dyke Looks Like within North America at my own expense, I'm going to need a helping hand (or several...hundred?) to get take the project to Russia.
Cover Story Outvisions Magazine:
We've got tons of fun rewards on offer, from hummus recipes to 2014 calendars and fine art prints. There's also now undapants for certain backer levels! Check the project updates for new rewards!
Risks and challenges
The challenge at the centre of this part of the project will be that the recent laws allow foreigners accused of promoting homosexuality to be held for two weeks and then deported. I will need to be mindful of my own safety as well as the safety of the project participants.
However, my previous experiences working internationally have provided me with significant skills in regards to dealing with potentially dangerous/hostile environments. I also have a strong network of international journalists, aid workers, and generally awesome advisers.
Should we reach our funding goal and not be allowed into the country, all funds raised will be reallocated to another country with an LGBTQ2 community that is suffering human rights abuses. Sadly there are many.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
What about the safety of people you're photographing? Will you do some photos that don't show their identity?
This concern was pretty much the first worry that popped into my head when thinking about the Russia part of WDLL. Their Safety is incredibly important to me.
When I was in Zimbabwe, the government was so anti free press that I had colleagues beaten and jailed, some even having to seek asylum in other countries to keep from being killed. So there were quite a few stories that had to be told anonymously or in a way that ensured the sources stayed protected.
So for Russia the first thing I did was to make sure I had a photo series in mind that could work anonymously and still hold up artistically. That way, no matter what the environment I walk into there's a way to keep people's identities safe and still produce a compelling visual narrative.
Because it just doesn't work if both those things aren't there.
That said, many of the people I've been corresponding with are very out spoken, well known lbtq activists in Russia and will know the situation upon my arrival better than I and can advise on what the best course of action is.
I do think a lot of people want, as an act of strength and protest to show their faces, to show that these abuses are happening to real people; living breathing HUMAN members of their communities. As long as queers there are perceived as less than people, they will continue to be denied their human rights.
All of that is to say that it will be on a case by case basis in consultation with each participant depending on their individual situation, personal comfort levels and climate in Russia.
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- (36 days)