As we look towards a new Pride season — now’s the perfect time to reflect on the contributions of our LGBTQ+ peers, and learn from them on how to put inclusivity at the core of our businesses.
We’ve talked about this a lot over the past few months: the importance of running inclusive businesses that shine a light on love in it’s most equal form. But to really come out and support the LGBTQ+ community, us photographers have got to take it upon ourselves to try and understand the community, its perspective, and how it wants to be represented.
In today’s article, we want to share with you a few of our favorite LGBTQ+ photographers, and celebrate all they do. In doing so, we hope to not only lift up our queer friends, but to also give you guys the inspiration (and education) you need to represent diverse clients as authentically as you can.
So, let’s get started — here’s the 13 LGBTQ+ photographers you absolutely need to know about
1. Ryan Duffin
Inspired by the ‘sparkly utopia’ of pop icons like Lady Gaga and Britney Spears, Ryan Duffin aims to make his models “look like pop stars, even if they aren’t already” — which is certainly something us wedding photographers can get behind!
Notable commissions include:
- Shooting Pete Buttigieg throughout his presidential campaign 🤵
- Harry’s 2019 Pride Campaign, featuring LGBTQ+ celebrities like Shea Couleé 🏳️🌈
- Drag Kings for GQ Magazine 👩🎤
- Information SuperHighway 📱
2. David Uzochukwu
For a lesson in emotionally-charged self-portraits, look no further than David Uzochukwu — a young and entirely self-taught, Austrian born photographer whose work casts “multifaceted representations of the body” in an often dark, truthful and surrealist light.
With every photo aiming to “visualize the way a body can feel”, Uzochukwu’s work communicates a loud and revealing message about its subjects — a goal that all us photographers will share.
Career highlights include:
3. Lia Clay Miller
As a queer and trans-identified artist, Lia dedicates her craft to creating a space for LGBTQ+ representation in mass media, far and wide.
Challenging perspectives, Lia proves that inclusivity is about more than just ‘illuminating’ queer models, but actively including them in their own depictions — a lesson all photographers should keep in mind.
Notable commissions include:
- Shooting Billy Porter for The Hollywood Reporter 🎬
- Shooting Victoria Monet for The Cut ✂️
- Shooting the cover story of Out Magazine (and becoming the first openly trans photographer to do so) 🏳️🌈
4. Savana Ogburn
Looking to bring a touch of fantasy to your photoshoots? Follow Savana Ogburn down the yellow brick road and discover a portfolio that’ll show you how.
Capturing drag stars, vampire cowboys and everything in between, Savana’s work shows us how a label-less and inclusive approach to photography can have some seriously weird (and pretty wonderful) results.
You’ve got to check out her…
- Iconic shoot with Drag Race winner, Sasha Velour 😍
- Breathtaking take on Adam and Eve 🍎
- Ultra-surreal journey to ‘Hollyweird’ 🎭
What’s not to love?
5. Yael Malka
Yael’s work delves into self-expression, how we view ourselves, how others view ourselves, and the role identity plays in our visually coded world.
She’s photographed holocaust survivors, pride parades, polyamorous lovers and so much more — all with a signature style defined by experimental lighting and visual fragmentation.
For a taste of what she does so great, check out her recent projects:
Her website is filled with even more queer inspired work, and her Instagram feed is a crash course in how to put inclusivity at the center of everything you do.
6. Lauren Withrow
Based in Texas, Lauren’s work fuses city life with the small town she grew up in, giving a platform to diverse models, up-and-coming musicians and sunlit landscapes that will leave you wanting to head outside and start shooting.
Her style combines black and white shots, moody photography, and an editorial tone that would be at home in any fashion magazine or music video.
Our favorite picks include…
- This gorgeous shot soaked in fall sunlight 🍂
- Lauren’s unique take on an alt-pop music video 🎬
- Her gothic commission for PaperCity Magazine 👻
7. Ryan James Caruthers
From Netflix stars to pop stars, Ryan is a queer photographer who has seriously hit the big time, working with A-List models and shooting for the big-name publications to match.
But look beyond the celebrity credits, and you’ll find honest portraits that strip bare their subjects and celebrate natural beauty in a vulnerable, captivating and super honest way — reminding us that LGBTQ+ photography doesn’t always have to be a bold or sparkly affair.
To see this in action, check out…
- Ryan’s Time Magazine shoot with Troye Sivan 🏳️🌈
- His make-up-free cover shoot with Alicia Keys 🎹
- And an intimate self-portrait of him and his partner 👨❤️👨
8. Laurence Philomene
As a transgender photographer committed to improving trans visibility in the modelling industry, Laurence’s portfolio celebrates identity through a queer lens and does so in a fun, bold and super experimental way.
With a photo series dedicated to ‘puberty’ as a trans person, Laurence’s work not only highlights trans identities, but flips the script on sex and gender and illustrates the lived experiences of trans people with real vulnerability and beauty.
Some of our favorite shots include…
- Laurence’s take on the trans body in the natural world 💐
- Their vulnerable self-portraits 📸
- Their use of paint to explore and depict the body 🎨
Give Laurence a follow on Instagram for more examples of some of the best (and most honest) trans photography you’ll find.
9. Elliott Jerome Brown Jr.
Next on our list is Elliot Jerome Brown Jr. — a New York based queer photographer who focuses on capturing the queer and BIPOC community as one.
Brown has been commissioned by the likes of New York Magazine, Vice, Teen Vogue and Dazed, known for primarily using his art to tackle notions of maleness and blackness in close-up (and often behind) portraits of his subjects.
The results? Unstaged shots that capture intimate, candid moments, just like these…
- Complex occupation 👨❤️👨
- Justice for black people ☮️
- One corner in mommy’s living room 🛌
- Vanessa and Diane 🛋
10. Campbell Addy
Campbell Addy’s work is truly breathtaking, capturing the space where race, gender and sexuality become one in a portfolio that’s eye-opening, stunningly diverse, and pretty star-studded, too.
Having shot covers for Rolling Stone Magazine, Time and Dazed (to name just a few), Campbell puts diversity on some of the world’s biggest platforms and does so in an honest and rich way that fuses experimentation with stripped back tradition.
Some of Campbell’s career highs include:
- Shooting *the* Naomi Campbell (and becoming the first black photographer to do so in over 30 years) 🙋🏽♀️
- Putting Kendall Jenner on the cover of Garage Magazine (like you’ve never seen her before…👀)
- Becoming the first black man to shoot a cover for Rollingstone, and doing so with three black female pop stars taking center stage 💅🏾
But that’s not all!
Check out Campell’s Instagram feed for more surprises that’ll take your breath away.
11. Matthew Morrocco
Having worked with publications such as Paper Magazine, Vogue, Vice and W Mag, Matthew Morrocco has made a career of — sometimes quite literally — holding a mirror to queer culture, and encouraging the world to look on in.
He also isn’t afraid of shining a light on his own personal life, too, by boldly and unashamedly photographing his ‘trysts with older men’… to much media attention, as you might expect.
Portfolio highlights include:
Living in New York, Res is a queer photographer and visual artist you absolutely need to know about this Pride season. His work is entirely devoted to LGBTQ+ culture and explores the community through a truthful and often political lens that only a queer artist could.
We’re particularly in awe of how Res honored the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting back in 2016, where his work documents the scene of the crime in a beautiful but harrowing way that reminds us of what was the worst mass killing of LGBTQ+ people in American history.
Some real gems of his portfolio include:
Head over to Res’ website for more examples of his unique and first-hand take on queer culture.
13. Guanyu XU
And to finish off our list is Guanyu XU, a queer photographer who uses his art to pose bold questions about identity, politics, art and society.
Born and raised in China, Xu moved to the US in 2014 — a transformational journey that is reflected in his work, which explores the duality of American liberalism and Chinese conservatism in an interesting and challenging way.
A few, brilliant examples of this include:
So, what are you waiting for? Hit that follow button!
Seriously — if you want to celebrate Pride this season, support the artists at the center of it and learn from all they do.
And why not go one step further this June, and introduce your followers to some of your favorite queer photographers? The artists will appreciate the spotlight, and it’s a great way of showing how committed you are to lifting up the diverse voices around you.
And on that note — Happy Pride, and don’t forget to head to our latest blog on Pride 2021: How to be an out and proud LGBTQ+ Ally.
Connection is what it’s all about. Feel free to reach out to us with any comments or questions you might have, even if it’s only to say hello. If it wasn’t for our beautiful community, this place just wouldn’t feel the same.