This article by Jared McCallister appeared in The New York Daily News.
Since coming to New York in the mid-1970s, photographer Gerard Gaskin has amassed an impressive portfolio including work for magazines, newspapers, record companies, photo exhibitions and his book, “Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene.”
Published in 2013 for Duke University Press, the publication is an intimate look at the artistry, innovation and flair of “house balls” — nighttime shows by African-American and Latino gay and transgender men and women in New York, Washington, Philadelphia and Richmond, Va.
“I started this project and a senior project at Hunter College here in New York City under Roy DeCarava,” said Gaskin, who studied with the pioneering master photographer and expanded the college work into “Legendary.”
“Women and men become fluid, interchangeable points of departure and reference, disrupting the notion of a fixed and rigid gender and sexual self” said Gaskin of the subjects in the book.
“My images try to show a more personal and intimate beauty, pride, dignity, courage, and grace that have been painfully challenged by mainstream society. All of this happens at night in small halls in cities all over the country. These photographs show us different views of these spaces as they are reflected in the eyes of house and ball members who perform what they wish these cities could be.”
“The balls are a celebration of black and Latino urban gay life. They were born in Harlem out of a need for black and Latino gays to have a safe space to express themselves. Balls are constructed like beauty and talent pageants, the author/photographer said.
The publication won the Center for Documentary Studies /Honickman First Book Prize in Photography open to American and Canadian photographers who have never published a book-length work. Gaskin beat out 200 entrants to win the honor.
For the original report go to http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/photog-book-legendary-article-1.2020659