Kirk Lorenzo, a queer Latino from New York City, shared with us his journey of discovering a passion for photography. His work gives voice and sheds light on topics such as identity and queerness.
Embrace yourself, Express yourself. Love yourself.
Christophe: When did you first become interested in photography?
Kirk: Ooof, ummm...I wanna say sometime in early high school. When I was super obsessed with having a very well curated tumblr blog! My blog consisted of photographs and illustrations I found to be beautiful and inspiring, so that interest has sort of been there for a while. I just never acted upon it till my first year of college; four years later when I finally picked up a camera!
C: Were you self-taught or did you learn in school/from a mentor?
K: I've been in an art specialized learning institution for the past eight years of my life, so all of it has been learned from teachers, professors and other practicing artists!
C: How did you develop your style?
K: Hahaha, definitely via tumblr! Who hasn't fallen in love with a beautiful VSCO film emulated photo on tumblr? However I don't use VSCO as often in my own work, but I do give my photos a film-y emulation I've put together myself on photoshop.
C: What themes do you explore through your work?
K: Being a queer man, sex, non-monagamy, queerness, bsdm, and politics such as race, class, age and gender.
C: How do you find and choose you subjects or locations?
K: Towards the beginning it was a lot of asking guys I hooked up with if I could photograph them, so I'd find these men via Grindr and Scruff ("Dating" Apps for queer men), though mainly Scruff. Then Instagram and now its a mix of those two plus Facebook and folks I've meet in night life/friends of friends! Locations? I tend to wander a lot by myself, I'm also constantly on google maps searching for the "green areas", and if it's not an outdoors location it's sometimes and indoor location that can be anywhere from a friends place I've visited, to a subjects home, to a bar, etc.
C: What inspires your work?
K: Sex, nature, sex!
Hahaha, but on a serious note yes sex, nature, but also night life, queerness, bsdm and the politics that surround our everyday lives!
C: How do you compose an image? Do you go into the shoot with a specific shot in mind, or does the inspiration strike when you place your model in the setting?
K: I started composing my images for the purpose of how I curated them on Instagram, but now its just become second nature and I do it even with my images that I deem more "fine art." However it tends to be a mix of both, I do go into a shoot with a specific shot in mind but the inspiration also often strikes in the moment too!
C: What do you hope your art says to people?
K: These queer bodies existed, were resilient, and pushed through.
C: What has been your biggest lesson learned through creating your art?
K: Learning how to trust myself.
C: Why did you choose your craft(photography)?
K: I came out of high school certain that I was gonna be a painter but when I got into college I realized I was getting frustrated with not being able to articulate what I wanted to say as quick as I wanted to say it. Being a slow painter on top of how slow painting is as a medium, was getting to me. So I ended up picking up a camera, and became relieved at how in sync I was with the pace of the medium.
C: How hard was it to become profitable at it?
K: Hahaha, it's still hard. I wouldn't say I'm anywhere near as profitable at what I'm doing as I'd like to be, but I don't doubt I will be soon. Currently finishing up school is consuming a lot of my time so I just need to finish up school so I can start filling up this wallet!
C: Any suggestions to newcomers to the field?
K:Trust yourself, remember that there's not one way to do things, be ethical, and stay humble!
C: If you couldn’t be doing your craft, what would you do instead?
K: Ooop, I don't like this question haha! I've always led myself to believe that art is the only thing I'm good at. I don't like following directions, I don't like being told what to do, and I DO NOT like 9-5s haha. But for the purpose of this question I'd have to say something along the lines of an outdoors instructor, flight attendant, night life stuff or like social work or something.
C: What would you do differently if you could start from scratch?
K: Not a single thing!
C: Any favorite moments of your career so far?
K: Oh oh oh! I'd have to say meeting the beautiful and inspirational people I use to see on my tumblr feed who I wouldn't have thought I'd ever meet and getting to befriend them as well as being able to photograph them. All the internal fan girling I've done throughout my career thus far is kinda humorous!
C: Is there a defining moment in your career so far?
K: Constant ones, moments like this where others want to interview me about my me or my work, the messages I get from others asking me that they want my work in their publication, as well as those messages I get from others wanting to shoot with me. We all have tons insecurities and it moments like those that remind you that you must be doing something right. Those are the most affirming moments during one's career!
C: Is there anything you really enjoy in your craft vs another line of work?
K: Printing my photographs. As someone aspiring to be a fine artist when I get to print a photograph to display somewhere and get to see the image on paper and not just through as screen. It's a very blissful and magical moment.
C: Biggest pet peeve about the industry?
K: The politics surrounding accessibility; people who can just up and quickly purchase the latest gear and think that because they own expensive gear that It makes them a photographer. Along those same line, people who claim they're a photographer and take their access to resources for granted. There are some of us who have to work twice or even three times as hard to get access to the resources some of our "contemporaries" have.
Ben: Is flannel really always appropriate?
K: Depends are you aiming for some masc4masc foolishness? Or are you serving some butch queen looks?