Growing up in the north of England, Heather Glazzard (@heather_glazzard) wasn't aware of or exposed to any queer representation in the media. Now based in London, they are making waves in the British fashion media with their stunning photos of beautiful film-based fashion documentary portraits, being featured in the likes of British GQ, Vogue Italia and Gay Times and worked with brands including Adidas and Coach.
Heather is on a mission to give the queer community the representation and visibility it deserves. What's so great about Heathers work is that they are telling stories through beautiful intimate portraits and words directly from the people in the community. Through their work they give a more open, softer approach to storytelling through photography and allows for a real open conversation rather than the one-way conversations about queer lives that make their way to the rest of the UK and the world.
When it comes to sharing positive news about queer culture and the people it involves, the mainstream media outlets have never been too kind when telling the stories of LQBTQI+ individuals and groups, partly because the people writing the stories aren't queer themselves and this is a lot to do with lack of access for LGBTQI+ into these roles or are afraid to show their true identity in the workplace.
More than a third of LGBT people (35 per cent) have hidden or disguised that they are LGBT at work in 2018, because they were afraid of discrimination. This rises to half of trans people (51 per cent) (Stonewall LGBT+ in Britain work report).
What's so great about Heathers work is that they are telling stories through beautiful intimate portraits and words directly from the people in the community. Through their work they give a more open, softer approach to storytelling through photography and allows for a real open conversation rather than the one-way conversations about queer lives that make their way to the rest of the UK and the world.
Queer letters, published on Dazed Digital, is a series by Heather that highlights the importance of genuine, authentic queer stories, starting in 2018 as a response to the absolute need for more queer representation and stories and has become and ongoing and necessary project to keep queer stories at the forefront. The shoot locations themselves are always set in the subjects' homes and personal spaces adding to the intimate quality of the images, Glazzard themselves actively wanting to photograph their subjects in these environments where the whole interaction is comfortable and where the subject is relaxed and ready to tell their own story.
The beautiful handwritten letter format adds to the soft, tender themes that run throughout the series and add a layer of understanding to the dreamy portraits. With all the images also being shot on film, what more and more fashion photographers are reverting back to, it gives images with a purpose a way to talk to its audience. The backdrop of the images being set in home environments lets us into these spaces we wouldn't often see and brings us into their worlds.
Someone seeing a certain story from the varied individuals in the series can give way for real representation, seeing other LGBTQI+ experiences and feeling a sense of familiarity can be so important for others exploring their own queer identities, the sense of community it can create can be hugely impactful. It's both a soft but bold approach to photography and encapsulates Heathers signature style throughout. It is always refreshing to see honest, open conversations with the people in the LQBTQI+ community and this series is a reflection of the real stories that individuals have to tell.