Queerty.com and Slate.com both report on a new photo exhibit by Frédéric Nauczyciel capturing portraits of Baltimore’s Voguers. Voguing as a dance style has been around since the 1960s, but really did not become part of the public consciousness until the 1990s with the film Paris is Burning and Madonna’s song Vogue.
Nauczyciel was in Baltimore on a grant from the French government in 2011 when he stumbled across some voguers performing in a parking lot. He posted photos of the event to Facebook and quickly found himself flooded with new connections in the ballroom scene. “Before that, I had maybe 50 friends on Facebook. Suddenly I ended up having 200 friends—voguers from Baltimore and New York,” he said.
Nauczyciel stayed five months in the city, intrigued by the themes of race, gender, and performance that are embedded in ballroom culture. “They invent themselves. They decide who they want to be. They can twist very easily from masculine to feminine, from nice to mean,” he said. “I think it’s very brave, very courageous.”
The portraits features the subjects in combination of studio environments and urban settings. Nauczyciel did this to reflect the reality of the subject’s lives, which Nauczyciel found “beautiful.”