Why a Queer Photographer Is Going South / Hyperallergic

From Christian Hendricks’s Kickstarter campaign for South of the Ohio: A Queer Photo Documentary (all images via Kickstarter)

CHICAGO — Budding young Cincinnati-based gay documentary photographer Christian Hendriks has an agenda. It involves travel, pictures and maybe even you.

His ambitious project South of the Ohio: A Queer Photo Documentary, will take the great American roadtrip south from the Midwestern state of Ohio, roving into warm climates to document queer cultures that exist amongst the weeds, the flowers, the cows, and the corn fields.

“For this project, I’m interested in any queer community — whether it be a small town with a gay bar, or marginalized communities of queer people who have come together in a rural area where queer identity is, at best, ignored,” Hendriks told Hyperallergic via email. “Safe zones and communities for queer people are seemingly rare in certain parts of the South.”

Other questions he wants to delve into include what it’s like to be queer in an politically conservative region that is also known for its hospitable attitudes.

To locate queer people who live outside of cities and in areas that are more rural, or in small towns, Hendricks is using means that a typical documentarian might find unusual.

“For example, I’ve been using the gay meet-up app Grindr (which displays profiles by proximity to you) and spoofing the GPS to be anywhere I choose,” he says. “I dropped a pin in the region in the South with the highest density of Southern Baptists churches (Rural, North-Eastern Mississippi, incidentally). In chatting with some people there, almost no one told me they were out; they told me they had to drive hours to the nearest gay bar, and one individual even told me that everyone who was gay knew each other, stating that, ‘everyone knows everything about everyone’s sex life.’”

Read the full story on Hyperallergic: http://hyperallergic.com/71815/why-a-queer-photographer-is-going-south/