A romantic portrait of community in the drag scene

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Ardelle Schneider’s upcoming photobook catches the glitz and the glamour of life as a performer, but also quieter moments every day life

In the Spring associated with 2019, Ardelle Schneider met Adora, a drag queen based in Cologne, Germany. Adora opened her world towards the young photographer, inviting the girl to photograph her inner circle of drag queens. Schneider had become interested in the scene after watching Jennie Livingston’s 1990 documentary Paris is Burning, as well as through the work of Nan Goldin. “I was interested in the art form, the react of transformation and the duality between self-portrayal and the belief of others, ” says Schneider. “ It’s a kind of discussion between the act of cover and revealing. ”

Many of the queens she met stated their role models had been in the US, and that they hoped to grow their local scene within Germany. In an attempt to understand this impact, Schneider decided to travel broader. She got in touch with Opal, a drag queen based in Miami, and flew over to meet her. “Within a period of time, I felt the nearness and perceptiveness that existed in the community, ”says Schneider. “I was welcomed with open arms, I made new friends, and I learned this is of the word identity on a new level. ”

Schneider’s upcoming photobook –  which she is currently raising funds to publish –  is a broad and intimate insight into the particular drag scene in the US. The particular publication captures the glitz and the glamour of life as a performer, but also quieter moments of everyday life. Several images are made in darkness – action shots from the inside a club, or moments charged with anticipation since the queens prepare to perform. But , there are also photographs soaked within daylight; traditional portraiture that depicts a softer aspect beneath the make-up and wigs.  

“It was crucial that you me that the sensitivity inside the community was shown, ” says Schneider. “When I portray a person, I try to depict them as I understand them… Photography serves me as a means to bring out what is inside, and carry it to the outside. ”

Marigold Warner

Marigold Warner joined the British Newspaper Photography in April 2018, and currently holds the positioning of Online Editor. She studied English Literature plus History of Art at the College of Leeds, followed by an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London. Her work has been published by titles including the Telegraph Magazine, Huck, Gal-dem, Disegno, and the Architects Journal.

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