Beautiful Photographs of Baltimore’s Gender-Bending Voguers

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Photo by Frédéric Nauczyciel
Photo by Frédéric Nauczyciel

Via Slate, we stumbled on French photographer Frédéric Nauczyciel’s gorgeous portraits of Baltimore’s voguers.  “They invent themselves. They decide who they want to be. They can twist very easily from masculine to feminine, from nice to mean,” Nauczyciel said, of the subculture’s practitioners. “I think it’s very brave, very courageous.”

Photo by Frédéric Nauczyciel
Photo by Frédéric Nauczyciel

Most people’s exposure to the voguing world began with that 1990 Madonna song, but the subculture has a long and rich history. Here’s how Fast Company describes voguing:

Photo by Frédéric Nauczyciel
Photo by Frédéric Nauczyciel

“…voguing turns gender into a fantastical performance. Unlike drag, which lends itself to cartoonishly feminine personas, voguers play at a wider range of characters, performing as thugs, business executives, schoolboys, butch queens, or angels… This physical language remixes influences as varied as Egyptian hieroglyphics, mime, martial arts, ballet, and break dancing into wild moves–like the death drop, the duckwalk, and the hairpin (an acrobatic backbend in which a dancer’s butt touches his head).”

Photo by Frédéric Nauczyciel
Photo by Frédéric Nauczyciel

In Nauczyciel’s portraits, the voguers pose in their own neighborhoods and backyards. An exhibit of the photographs (which also include images of voguers from Paris, Nauczyciel’s hometown) is on view at New York City gallery Julie Meneret Contemporary Art through May 18.

Photo by Frédéric Nauczyciel
Photo by Frédéric Nauczyciel



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