Over the past sixteen years, photographer JJ Levine has created studio portraits across three major series: Queer Portraits, Alone Time, and Switch. In Queer Portraits, Levine contributes to a visual culture of identity-based image making by photographing the people close to him. In Queer Portraits and Alone Time, he creates a studio within each home environment, and intentionally places every object that appears within the frame. These settings are intended to raise questions regarding private space as a realm for the development of community and the expression of genders and sexualities that are often marginalized within the public sphere.
Alone Time and Switch employ elements of drag and gender transformation. These two series are intended to confuse and amuse the viewer and urge the audience to problematize preconceived notions of binary gender and heteronormativity. In Alone Time, upon closer examination, the “couples” prove to be composed of a single model appearing as both the male and female characters. Similarly, Switch initially appears to be a series featuring four models. Yet in reality, it is the same couple switching their gender presentations in the two sides of the diptych.
Across all three projects, JJ Levine hopes to provoke thought, while maintaining a commitment to formal photographic techniques. The underlying goal of his work is to celebrate the resistance and resilience in his queer community of friends, through the confrontational gaze of his subjects and a collective cultural aesthetic.
Curated by Christine Redfern, Director of ELLEPHANT