David Hockney and M. Sharkey photographed at his home and studio September 26, 2012
This year's photographer of the Out100 is New York City-based M. Sharkey. With such a herculean task—documenting a hundred compelling people in the LGBT community—we wanted to know what was the highlight of the entire experience.
"One day, we shot Boy George in the north of London and then raced to the West End to shoot Simon Cowell at a theater he was performing at," explains Sharkey. "The next morning, we started at Elton John and David Furnish's home in Windsor, raced to shoot David Hockney at his home in London, and finally ended in the wee hours shooting John Tiffany and Mika at a location that could have been Mars for all I remember. It was a once-in-a-lifetime 24 hours, and I think everyone knew it."
For the past six years Sharkey has been working on an ongoing project titled "Queer Kids," a document of LGBTQ youth across America. The photographs are intimate testaments to his subjects’ powerful self-awareness; at once empathetic and opulent, they are the visual counterpart to the voice these young people have struggled—and lately succeeded—to find. Rooted in the long tradition of portraiture, Sharkey’s images grant his subjects a full measure of the dignity with which they deserve to be seen. “I think I’ll always be drawn to this amazingly brave group. Their strength is a continual source of inspiration for me,” he says. “It is their defiance that I want to capture in the portraits. What I hope people might also see is the delight that is the domain of a new generation: the sheer joy of being able to stand up and be seen without shame.”
This fall, Sharkey had his first solo show of the work at Galerie de la Main de Fer in Perpignan, France, and he hopes it will travel in 2013. For more on the project, please check out the
The photographer currently lives in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn with his boyfriend of 11 years, Jeffrey Walkowiak.
For more of his work visit www.msharkey.com