BY: Thomas Iglesias Trombetta
PHOTOS BY: Eluvier Acosta
PHOTO ASSISTANT: Walid El Cairo
LIGHTING TECH: Devon Rogers
WARDROBE STYLIST: Carl Abad
CLOTHING: Maison Simons & Benjamin Toner
MAKEUP & HAIR LEAD: Emilia Kuczma-Porębska
MAKEUP: Laura Grant
MODELS: Justin Aucoin (Model Models Intl), Cameron Francis, Thomas Iglesias Trombetta, Mona Moore, Lilly Nguyen (Model Models Intl), Adania Reyes, Rhyum Rose (Mode), Orry Roth, Kanwar Sandhu
STUDIO: Mas Studios Intl
Not by coincidence, journeying deeper into our queerness is often met with a deep sense of inadequacy about our bodies. Am I too feminine? Should my butt look like that? Why do I only come across representations of gay men who are athletic, cisgender, masculine, and mostly white-looking? Media, ads and even queer spaces themselves often perpetuate limiting ideas about what we can look like. Perhaps the perception of sexual taste as purely individual leaves our bodies binary-bound, restricted by socially constructed ideas of desirability that favour the same old flavours, at the expense of visibility for all.
Gender and sexuality are as complex as each body they inhabit. It is, then, our responsibility to celebrate these multitudes, instead of uniform depictions of ourselves. I work at Freddie, a virtual service that is making HIV PrEP accessible and inclusive through virtual care. Photographer Eluvier Acosta and I wanted to actively challenge these monolithic expressions by promoting awareness of HIV PrEP. So together we created a series of images with the objective of portraying queer and trans communities in ways that commemorate different bodies, genders and expressions.
A queer immigrant himself, Acosta is drawn to expressing his subjects in romantic ways that highlight beauty and sentimentalism. With a passion to steer away from traditional commercial images, Acosta wants to show a version of people that has not been seen before, even by the models themselves. For his campaign with Freddie, the photographer wanted to represent diverse ways to love, and to be in relationships often considered ‘inappropriate’ in mainstream marketing.
Acosta describes the task of celebrating a multitude of bodies:
“It was beautiful teamwork; the way in which the project was done was very honest, and I think the images bring that. The different bodies shown make me feel connected and represented. There’s a part of many people that speaks to me. There’s a lot of stigma about PrEP, and even more around HIV, but it’s important that this campaign opens the doors to a wider group of people who may not have access to this information. Many may feel uncomfortable with these images, and that is fine by me.”