exhibition slideshow

Photographic Portraits of New York Drag Queens in Half Make-up.

by Leland Bobbé

On View
October 20 - November 24, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012
7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

Download the complete catalog of HALF DRAG images here.

The images have gone viral! Appearing on over 100 web sites, blogs, and on-line magazines in more than 20 countries, New York photographer Leland Bobbé's Half-Drag series has a universal appeal. The images depict stars of New York City's drag scene, shot in studio, showing exactly one half of their faces in high drag make up and hair and the other half without make up, giving us a snapshot of the men behind the illusion. The images are composed entirely "in camera" with no digital stitchery involved. Clever and powerful, the images elucidate the possibility of a gender fluidity beyond the burdensome belief of a male/female template. Over 20 of Bobbé's prints, shown as archival pigment prints and limited edition C-prints, in various sizes, are on view at PHD Gallery from October 20th through November 24th with an opening reception for the artist on Saturday October 20, 2012, from 7-10PM. The artist will be present.

About Leland Bobbé

Leland Bobbé has been a professional photographer in New York City for over 30 years. His work spans both the fine art and commercial worlds and has been shown in galleries and utilized by advertising agencies around the country.

Bobbé's award winning photographs tell more than they are showing. The photographer's images delve beneath the visible surface of the world we see and provide a glimpse of a hidden dimension that lies beneath. Like a poker player that blinks, each image has a "tell" ... a crack in the facade that allows us to enter more deeply into the psychology and inner workings of his subjects. Beneath his unflinching portraits of Women of Fifth Avenue, armored with make up, cosmetic surgery, and opulence, we see the frailty of old age and the specter of lost beauty. His wind blown and forgotten umbrellas in Stormy Weather remind us that even the shields we devise to protect ourselves from the elements eventually succumb to their force. Not surprisingly, his Half-Drag series offers a unique perspective on the men behind the make up, while providing provocative social commentary on gender identity, normative ideas about gender roles, and the traditional male/ female paradigm.

A fan of photographers like Steve Pyke, Garry Winogrand, Richard Avedon, and Harry Callahan and painters like Mark Rothko and Edward Hopper, the photographer contends that his greatest influences lie elsewhere:

"I find my influence comes more from a state of mind fueled by rock and roll, Miles Davis and great films. A boldness and simplicity runs through my work. In all of my portraits, although the subjects vary greatly, I always direct them in a similar way; which I think reflects my personality. I find that the photos that might make me a bit nervous and uncomfortable to shoot are often my best."

His work has been published in The Graphis Photography Annual 2010 and 2011, One Life, Communication Arts, Art Direction Magazine, Creativity, Photo District News, Popular Photography and covers for Camera 35 and Peterson's Photographic. He has won many awards including Graphis 100 Best in Photography 2011, World Photography Gala Awards B&W Competition, 1st Place Street Photography 2011, Graphis Photography Annual 2010, Px3 prix de le Photographie Paris, 1st place People's Choice 2010, and Black and White Spider Awards Honor of Distinction 2009.

Bobbé's most recent project titled Half-Drag . . . A Different Kind of Beauty has gone viral appearing on over 100 blogs, websites and online magazines in over 20 countries including Vogue Italia, Huffington Post, ABCnews, and MSN. He also appeared on the first guest segment on the newly launched HuffPost Live.

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