For his new monograph Kings & Queens in Their Castles (Damiani) photographer Tom Atwood went knocking on the doors of more than 160 queer Americans, taking environmental portraits of them in their unique domiciles. The passion project was 15 years in the making. “I traveled to 30 different states, from California to Maine to Florida to Washington state,” he says. The homes run the gamut from a farmer in his field to a drag queen surrounded by a lifetime of demented curios. The book is proof that the LGBTQ community comes from every walk of life—and every taste level.
Besides the many art and pop culture luminaries featured—graphic artist Alison Bechdel with her wife, Holly Taylor, in their garden; news anchor Don Lemon on his balcony; director John Waters in his office—there are also baristas, a small-town transgender sheriff, and even a homeless advocate living in his car. “Having grown up in a rural part of Vermont, I wanted to include as many rural subjects as possible,” says Atwood.
The lensman also made sure to snap a few iconoclastic bohemians known for their over-the-top decorating styles—“people who blossomed in the 1960s and 1970s but seem to be slowly disappearing,” he says wistfully.
The most wonderful thing about these images: They serve as a reminder that queer people exist everywhere in our country. And they’re all just looking for a place to call home.
Photography: Tom Atwood