“PRIDE must look to the future. It must look around and into the unfortunate realities of our present that demand of us to take leadership in overcoming.” -Daniel Eugene
Daniel Eugene is a photographer who strives to illustrate the energy and beauty of the underrepresented communities of New Haven, CT. In honor of June being Pride month, Lunch Money Print wanted to highlight Eugene’s incredible work in his #NHVdrag series.
Sylvia Heart, Partners Cafe, August 2017
Eugene chose to shine a light on the drag community because he saw it as a remarkably powerful form of creative expression in the LGBTQ community. It is also an extremely inclusive environment. The art in the community transcended any societal separations. He was fascinated by the energy of New Haven’s drag scene, especially Partners Café, and the way that the performers were able to embody a whole new character; merging the lines between the masculine and feminine. He saw their performances as a way to “combat the heteronormativity of history” and wanted to showcase that through his photos. He wanted to capture the entire space in his photos; the energy and the interaction between the audience and the performers.
#NHVdrag is meant to meant to invite the inexperienced audience member into the world of drag in New Haven and feel the unique energy in the performance. Through exhibitions and his self-published book, #NHVdrag Volume 1: Partners Café, available through Lunch Money Print, he is seeking to broaden the exposure of New Haven’s drag art beyond the late-night club scene. Eugene didn’t want to be an objective photographer who observes from the outside, but rather delve into the community himself. He developed friendships with the performers and that brought an increased sense of responsibility to the community as he was building a platform on which it could be showcased.
To Daniel Eugene, pride means acknowledging a long history of persecution and hatred of the LGBTQ community and overcoming that obstacle to achieve a liberated space to be who you are. Pride is about celebrating that progress, but remembering that there is still so much further to go. The definition of the term ‘queer’ is expanding and society needs to expand along with it in order to continue the progress that have been made. “Pride is about stepping up, doing more” says Eugene.
About the Author
Tulasi Sundaresh is currently a student at Boston University studying Advertising. She loves to write, listen to music, and go to concerts. Tulasi joined the Lunch Money Print team in April 2018.
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