Sometimes, the very best way to showcase a stunning and unconventional relationship in a traditional manner is to place all three (yes, three) members of the relationship in front of a camera, put them in a lush setting and simply start clicking.
Recently, Nick San Pedro, Mackenzie Claude (also known as Nebraska Thunderfuck) and RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni Derrick Barry sat for a photoshoot with noted photographer Arturo Garza. Originally intended for a release on social media, the shoot came out so beautifully that the photographer and the subjects all chose Instinct Magazine as the place that they wanted to premiere these exclusive shots.
Not only are these shots virtually stunning, but it gives both the photographer and the three uber-talented subjects the opportunity to shine a light on alternative LGBTQ relationships, as well as the ability to clear up any stereotypes or misconceptions. As Derrick Barry himself says of the shoot, “we wanted to showcase our unconventional relationship in a classic manner. Although our relationship may seem progressive to many, our morals and values are traditional”.
After meeting Mackenzie Claude /Nebraska Thunderfuck last year, photographer Garza and Claude both decided that they simply had to work together following her successful residency in Seattle at Queer Bar. From high atop rooftops to deep into the forest to the coasts of the local beaches, the photographer and model got to bond on a personal level throughout their shoot.
Garza told me exclusively that “shooting with Nebraska is always incredibly fun. She is so committed and professional, and let me tell you, she is a force to be reckoned with! One time we were shooting at this park, and I saw this huge tree; it took me less than a second to convince her to climb up in it! She was in full dress, heels, and her signature long nails and It was a sight to behold”.
It was during that very shoot, she mentioned that Derrick Barry was performing in Seattle in a few weeks, and being a huge Britney Spears fan himself, immediately knew what concept to shoot. They recreated David LaChapelle’s iconic 1999 Rolling Stone’s cover (purple Teletubby, pink sheets, and corded phone included).
Fast forward to this year, Garza met San Pedro and finally got the opportunity to capture the three of them together. They were able to shoot a beautiful family picnic in a sunny afternoon in Vegas, fulfilling a wish Garza had for quite some time. His vision was for the picnic to feel casual with a classic vibe and portray some of their characteristics in a fun way. The overhead shot with Derrick looking gorgeous and draped over Nebraska, definitely offers Britney Spears-“Perfume”-video vibes. Nebraska looks stunning, smiling and serving up champagne, All the while, Nick is showing off his own artistic talents, gracefully painting a portrait of RuPaul herself.
Nebraska herself told me “We are like any other relationship, just with an extra person. We push each other to new heights, lift one another up if someone is feeling down and celebrate each other’s successes. They have my heart and I’ve got their back”!
Garza added “witnessing how the three of them interact with each other was really cute. From how they help fix their outfit, hair, or makeup to the words of encouragement they would tell one another when seeing proofs of the photos. You can feel there’s a lot of love, respect, appreciation, and care among them. What a treat it was to create this beautiful, timeless moment with them and to capture a celebration of their seven year anniversary. I cannot wait to make more creative magic with them”!
Post photo shoot, Nick San Pedro said of their shoot “It takes no time to judge an unconventional relationship from the outside without having all the facts. After seven years, people have questions about what makes our relationship stand the test of time. I think the longevity of our relationship dismantles the ideology that a long-term relationship can only succeed with two individuals. I find that we have had a lot of success as a throuple. I am honored that people have reached out to us from all over the world with questions and relationship advice. It’s my pleasure to help someone else learn through my own unique experiences”.
All Photography Courtesy of Arturo Garza