There is plenty of debate surrounding the fight for LGBTQ equality these days, but photographer iO Tillett Wright is out to show that sometimes no rhetoric is as powerful as seeing the faces of the people legislation affects. In 2010 Tillett Wright embarked on a project to photograph LGBTQ America as it exists today, capturing simple portraits of anyone who finds themselves anywhere other than strictly straight on the sexual spectrum. Two years later Tillett Wright has captured 1675 portraits, and won't finish the project until the U.S. offers equality to all of its citizens.
The photographer, who writes for The New York Times Magazine and has blogged for The Huffington Post, does not pose or dress up her subjects in any way. Through this relaxed process, the black-and-white photos capture the wide spectrum of gay America from policemen to models to farmers.
While the New York-based photography darling often captures the gritty nightlife of sexy looking misfits, here she ditches her edgy aesthetic for a straightforward face-to-face encounter. The subjects' diversity is overpowered by an overwhelming sense of humanity, epitomizing the project's core belief that "people don’t fit into over-simplified boxes. Everyone falls somewhere on a nuanced spectrum of human sexuality."
The "Self Evident Truths" project will show on Tuesday, May 29th at The Hole in New York; all of Tillett Wright's portraits to date will be on view. The evening, hosted by Terence Koh, Venus X, Slava Mogutin, Eve Ensler, Lauren Flax and James Lecesne, and will feature performances by Caveman, Biance Casady of CocoRosie and JD Samson & MEN. Prints will be on sale and all funds will go toward continuing the project.
iO Tillett Wright, "Chelsy and Melissa, 21, Film Maker and Environmental educator, New York", 2011
iO TIllett Wright, "Amber, 26, Actor/Model, Los Angeles", 2011
iO TIllett Wright, "Eric, 24, Retail Manager, San Francisco", 2011
iO TIllett Wright, "Princess Stephanie, Entertainer, New Orleans", 2012
iO TIllett Wright, "Annette, 71, Retired Editor, Athens", 2012
iO Tillett Wright, "Tegan, 31, Musician, Los Angeles", 2011
iO TIllett Wright, "Little Bear, 21, Student, Asheville", 2012
iO Tillett Wright, "Al, 71, INS employee, Los Angeles", 2011
iO Tillett Wright, "Broderick, 33, Police Officer, San Francisco", 2011
iO TIllett Wright, "Sophia, 22, Student, New York", 2011
iO Tillett Wright, "Wiley, 25, Farmer, New Orleans", 2012
iO Tillett Wright, "Elizabeth, 29, Singer/Student, Asheville", 2012
iO Tillett Wright, "Olivia, 25, Actor, New York", 2011
iO Tillett Wright, "John, 56, Hospital Employee, San Francisco", 2012
iO Tillett Wright, "Alana, 30, Veteran's Service Rep, New York", 2011
Correction: In an earlier version of this article, "JD Samson & MEN" was listed as "JD Samson and MEN." In addition, we listed "Caveman" as "Cavemen." We apologize for the errors.