Early in 2018, Halifax-born photographer Heather Glazzard launched a series called Queer Letters, inviting members of the LGBTQ+ community to sit for a portrait and share advice for their younger selves. A year later, the project has been exhibited by Vogue Italia and Open Eye Gallery, and received funding from Arts Council England. Glazzard is celebrating with twin exhibitions in Manchester and London this month.
Glazzard’s subjects pen letters to their younger selves, but they speak to a wider community as well. “Speaking to your younger self is powerful, but it also gives younger people a chance to take advice from those who are photographed,” says Glazzard. The letters reflect on queer identities and how they shape people’s lives, balancing catharsis with community. Often handwritten by the subjects, and always accompanied by raw, film portraits, the letters are deeply moving in their intimacy.
The project not only documents queer creatives, but raises questions about representation and visibility. By including a broad spectrum of gender and sexual identities, Queer Letters shows the people behind the pride rainbow in their full, technicolour glory. “I want to give visibility to new ideas of gender and sexuality,” explains the 24-year-old. “The people included might not necessarily see themselves represented in mainstream media or fashion. Queer Letters provides a space for them to share their experiences.”
Queer Letters was exhibited at Caustic Coastal in Manchester and Vogue Fabrics Dalston in early May. The project is funded by Arts Council England, and donations on the door went towards Jay Gilby and Lucia Blake’s transition surgeries.
This article was originally published on TANK Live, here.