Rare Birds and Wild Creatures

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Rare Birds and Wild Creatures

being an essentialist. Like language, part of queerness is visual language, with typica and idioms that one must constantly learn either as a first or a second language. Or a third, fourth, and so on. What you're expressing is a form of literacy, not essentialism. But back to one hundred images pinned to the wall: you and I have looked at a lot of photographs. You used to review portfolios for OSI, I was a photo editor for 10+ years. So, when you and I make pictures, we're emerging from a place of inevitable reaction against what we're tired of seeing.  What was your criteria for making the selections for this show? 

Quito: I was extremely conscious that the work I was shooting was in opposition to the kind of work I was supporting in my day job and the socially concerned documentary work that I had been making for years prior to that. I've never succeeded at making anthropological-type work. Even when I photographed working-class immigrants who came from very different circumstances than I did, they were people in my life, part of my social fabric as an activist. I've always felt cynical about people who parachute into other people's lives, wanting to “make a difference,” and at my job I was particularly vocal about work that objectified sex workers or trans people. In fact, it was after a call for work about LGBT issues went out globally, and a lot of “outsider” work came in that totally missed the point, that I became determined to do a better job for my community.

And we’re back that day/night split: I was also visually tired of clean "objective" images shot in crisp, clear color. I missed film, I wanted to make mistakes, let the labor show, put myself into some of the frames sometimes. I have always been drawn to natural light, and black & white was the best way to avoid using flash at night. I photographed for about seven years before digital cameras came along, maybe a decade before they were any good, and even back then I resisted automatic cameras. There is something about a chrome-faced SLR camera that feels right in my hand and fits my aesthetic.

Patricia: Speaking of aesthetics, for your current show at BGSQD, you chose to hand paint the frames for the photographs. What motivated that choice?

Quito: This summer my friend Ethan Shoshan and