The Fluidity of Sexuality and Self
Words & Images © Nicholas Joseph Contrera.
The concept of American Landscape is largely determined by one’s own life experiences. My American Landscape is undoubtedly shaped by the diverse characters that that surround me: artists, drag queens, performers, vagabonds. Turning my camera to a diversity of subjects, particularly those entrenched in New York City’s vibrant and often decadent club scene, my work investigates the fluidity of sexuality and self. What is more American then freedom of self expression? In this series, I follow a group of friends during the summer months that not only express themselves without apology but also have found a sense of community with each other.
I have developed a photographic practice that explores the multi-dimensional and often misunderstood nature of gender. The reality is that gender is a much larger concept then what society would like to believe. We as humans have the ability to preform different gender rolls as we choose, despite frequent and sometimes violent backlash for those who dare to challenge the binary system. For most, understanding and defining their gender is never a struggle; most conform and follow other people’s ideas or stereotypes about how they should look or act based on the female or male sex they were assigned at birth. Only within the last few years has the topic of gender reached the national stage. The coming out of celebrities gender identities, and having the first openly transgender woman on the cover of Time magazine has accelerated the American conversation on gender and what it means to our society.