From Courtney Act to Delta Work, Magnus Hastings has consistently made himself one of the go-to photographers for some of our favorite drag queens, and there is no secret as to why; his photographs are vibrant, vivid, and the queens are keenly aware that they come alive before his lens (his gender tease picture of Courtney Act on the cover of his 2016 book Why Drag is a great example). His latest project though, has Hastings taking some of our favorite queens and showcasing them in a completely different, yet all too timely way.
#MaskUp is Hastings way of taking some of his favorite and most talented performers and showing them in their most real and authentic way. Shot completely out of drag, the performers were shot completely socially distanced and safely. Hastings was looking to find a way to be both creative and to make a point during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Queens like Raja, Jaida Essence Hall, Kornbread, Manila Luzon, and Meatball all participated in the series, each showcasing their own individual style, stripped down and masked up. Hastings took the opportunity to find a location to shoot with the queens outside (with a simple roll of grey paper as the backdrop), and then create a mask from an old shot he had on file. He calls this “the perfect COVID social distant project with a message”.
For his shoot with Honey Davenport below for example, Hastings utilized the opportunity of having this socially conscious queen in front of his lens by ensuring that people were aware that COVID-19 is adversely affecting 3 times as many people of color. “Show love for each other, protect each other, and wear a mask..this is not a partisan issue” Hastings said.
Magnus Hastings is releasing a new book, titled Rainbow Revolution this fall. Hastings’ site describes it as “a collection of vibrant portraits that celebrate the expanding spectrum of queer identity and visibility.”. Check out the behind the scenes video from the cover shoot for Rainbow Revolution earlier this year.
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