By Christopher Harrity
Originally published on Advocate.com January 28 2012 5:00 AM ET
Thomas Evans's delight in the less-than-usual is both cheerful and a little creepy. Good creepy. He often takes an image that is already racing toward bizarre and gives it a shove over the edge with his Photoshop skills. The results are both playful and strangely chic.
The Advocate: Why are you a photographer, and how did you start?
Thomas Evans: I have always been a creative person; I just didn’t know where to focus my energy. Growing up, I thought I was supposed to be in front of the camera. I tried acting, modeling, and dancing, but nothing really clicked until a friend gave me a camera as gift, and that’s when everything fell into place. Photography satisfied my creative needs. It allows me to control my environment and to bring my imagination to life.
You have a special feel for the outrageous and flamboyant. Where does that come from?
Starting out in the New York City club scene, I was always drawn to the outrageous nightlife personalities, people creating their own persona. Performance artists really inspire me. The costumes, the makeup, the movements, and the drama are all things I love! I believe masculine and feminine energies are most interesting when mixed together in a photograph. We live in a time where identity is something we create instead of something we are born into. We are all transforming ourselves every day. There really are no more rules in identity — we are free to be ourselves!
Tell us a good story from a shoot.
Last February, I was doing an editorial piece on Jeremy Xtravagaza in Times Square at midnight. It was about 15 degrees and the only pieces of clothing were an open trench coat and a tiny thong. We had to move fast because a crowd was forming and police were on their way. I got the shot.
How do you find your subjects?
I select my subjects by the mood I'm in. From the drag queen who performs at Barracuda to the leather daddy that works at the Eagle and everyone in between. If your money is right you can be my next subject.
What artists do you take inspiration from and why?
Annie Leibovitz — she is an open book and allows the world to see her life through her photographs. David LaChapelle is a true artist. His photographs are conceptual and surreal. His use of color shocks the eye. Mike Ruiz is a mentor for me. His portraiture work is something I strive to achieve. He always brings out something different and unique in his subjects.
Thomas Evans is a visual artist living in New York City. The first time Thomas held a camera he felt a powerful connection to it, a gift that allowed him to explore lighting and composition in ways far beyond the ordinary. In his art, Thomas has no fear. His camera is an open door to the world.
Thomas finds beauty in everything and exaggerates it. This global approach sums up the "Otherworldly Portrait series." It consists of eccentric people who are already living on an otherworldly plane. Thomas then applies his extraordinary skills to blur the lines between masculine and feminine body image, then adds an interplanetary edge to it. Your perception of the human body and the world around you will be totally transformed.
Thomas was a photographer for the Patrick McMullan Co. and has mentorship with Mike Ruiz. Thomas's work has been published in numerous magazines, and in addition to editorial work, he has shot cover art for recording artists and done portraiture for the wildly varied artist community of New York City.