Makeshift Theatre began with the mantra “so bad it’s good.” This idea allowed for considered, anti-aesthetic choices to create an intriguing conversation. This tête-à-tête examines the relationship between camp and homosexual identity with deliberate nods to pop culture by embracing stereotypes and paying homage to artists such as Arthur Tress, James Bidgood and Pierre at Gilles. These artists are known for pushing societal boundaries that contradict the idea of propriety and “Establishment” art. The body of work suggests that it is acceptable to laugh, to do things incorrectly, and to embrace imperfection. Makeshift Theatre is performative; it does not present the complex, dimensional identity of the subject, but rather the one dimensional, more stereotypical character in the makeshift theatre of identity as performance.
This project challenges a viewer’s perception of what it means to be a master in terms of both taste and skill. Early on in the project, it became essential to establish that each photo shoot needed to be as simple as possible. The images serve to remind the viewer that meaning can be encoded in any photograph, regardless of whether or not it aligns with traditional standards. Technical and design choices are made with a sense of wrongness in mind, as some rules are made to be broken. This anti-aesthetic effect is deliberate and by breaking from inherited standards of craft and taste, I effectively free myself from imposed limitations; the risks taken become simultaneous recognition and refusal of what has come before. This then contextualizes identity – both internal and external – within the medium of photography and suggests that identity is much broader than putative standards.