Artist Spotlight: Ashley Kolodner

By Christopher Harrity

Originally published on Advocate.com May 04 2013 3:04 AM ET

"GayFace" is a current collection of works by New York City photographer and artist Ashley Kolodner (pictured at left). Gay rights, as human rights, have long been thrown aside by American society. Sexuality cannot be defined as black and white for all. There are many LGBTQ people who do not identify with just one label. Queer culture is most often portrayed as radical, quirky, offbeat, even unserious or detrimental to social and familiar norms. The goal of this project is to break barriers that LGBTQ people have lived under. The purpose is to give them the voice they deserve and the power to speak their truth. This collection of works is done to portray the innovative, personal, and participatory face of the gay movement and American culture at large and in the home.

Each subject is photographed with their eyes closed, then eyes open. The images are meant to be seen side by side. Closing their eyes gives the viewer a sense of the subjects’ vulnerability. The eyes open allows the subject to look the viewer directly in the eye. Once the photographs have been taken, each subject participates in a short interview, stating their name and their label of choice.

The work will then be projected onto buildings and landmarks, to superimpose this true-to-life image of the gay community and further the aims of the movement in light of the current marriage court cases. Kolodner has and will continue to tour the United States to shoot individuals who overtly or covertly identify themselves within the LGBTQ population. Her work has already contributed to the self-identity and empowerment of these individuals, producing a massive support system. This work will also be contributed to book projects, street art, and gallery exhibitions. Kolodner continues to work to unify others in her movement in celebration of sex, freedom of identity, freedom of association, and culture.

See more on: Pintrest, Facebook, Tumblr and her Website.
 

Click through for the images from "GayFaces">>>


Alan, no label


Anjali, no label


Ashley K, queer/open

Ashley Kolodner is an artist and activist specializing in still photography. She was born in Washington, D.C., and graduated with a BA in commercial photography from the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, Calif. After graduating, Ashley traveled the U.S., living in Los Angeles, San Diego, Washington, and finally settling in Brooklyn, N.Y., with her pit bull Billie Holiday.

Ashley believes that her lifelong love of art in all of its forms, especially collage, ceramics, fashion, painting, glass blowing, and music, has informed her unique style of photography. Ashley has photographed the likes of Nas, Damien Marley, Mayer Hawthorne, and Nipsy Hustle, among others. Her work has been featured in numerous magazines, newspapers, galleries, and shows, including Toronto Fashion Week. Ashley’s work was featured in Photographer’s Forum’s Best of Photography 2011.


Austin, gay


Bekah, queer, lesbian, weird


Ben, gay


Chelsea S., whatevs, bro


China, no labels, no filter


Chuck, nonconformist


Crazy (Alex), Gay and not gay and kinda gay. It depends on the day. Depends on the gay. Depends on the gay and the day.


Felli, no label


Amedeo Khalif, "I consider myself free love, with a forever living soul."


Gayle, nonconformist


Gonzalo, no label


Kevin, gay


Lisa M., queer in every way, “femiqueer”


Nathaniel, gay


Raye, queer. PGP, she, her


Saleena, lesbian


Serena, No-holds-barred


Slammer, "It always changes, right now it's gay and lesbian, which is very different then before, I used to say queer."


Stephen W., gay


Tu, gay


Whit, queer


Zach, gay