Working with drag artists, these images are about the transformation back from drag to boy; I am fascinated by the way many artists I know take forever lovingly applying the drag for a performance or shoot… but cannot get it off quick enough at the end, armed with baby wipes they return to their former self in minutes.
The images record that transition starting with a posed portrait in drag, the exposure keeps going while they wipe it all off and put their boy or day clothes on and are repositioned to complete the image. The length of time it takes to remove the drag makes the title of the picture.
Harking back to early portraiture, I use long exposures and limited light sources in order to capture the transitions. Some of them also echo spirit photography and the viewer may well question is that really the same person in the image - perhaps they challenge the notion of the photograph as a truthful image. They capture a period of time where something is happening, a change is being made in one single frame or image.
They evidence the person behind the drag and reveal the often, contrasting characters. They record traces of post performance fatigue and the melancholy that can often follow a show after the adrenalin runs out...
Sometimes I find it difficult to shoot the performers I know when they are not in character or drag as I haven't studied them as hard off stage; I know their character's moves and expressions and so do they - they are used to being photographed in all their glory but can become awkward or a bit stiff without the face and clothes... (sometimes not always!!)
'Scottee in 297 seconds'
It is interesting to see how they position themselves from their drag character to their natural selves and the way they interact with their two selves - it is a collabortive process and I want to get as much as I can of the relationship they have with their character in the image.
'Tom Harlow in 263 seconds'
I have a fair number of people who I want to work with for this project and once it is finished I plan to make large prints for an exhibition in London next year so watch this space!
'Divine to Zach in 381 seconds'