At the Same Time, a new exhibit at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, features the work of six gay photographers from three different parts of the world and speaks to the synchronicity and richness of queer life.
Photographers — and couples — Steven Beckly and Dylan MacNeil, Ted Kerr and Zachary Ayotte, and Colin Quinn and Oisín Share found each other on Flickr in 2009 when online representations of gay relationships were scarcer than they are today.
“Pictures of gay guys having sex weren’t rare, but gay guys eating toast and giving each other haircuts and loving each other — those pictures you really had to look for. I think we were all drawn to each other because of that intimacy and the fact that we weren’t afraid to be in an online space, and there was something brave about that in a pre-tumblr and baby-Facebook world,” Beckly says.
At the Same Time previously appeared in Edmonton, curated by Kerr and Ayotte (who lived there at the time), and Manchester, UK, curated by Quinn and Share, in 2010. The Toronto exhibition, curated by Beckly and MacNeil, will feature a significant amount of new work along with a shift in perspective: two of the three couples are no longer together.
“This show is very different from our last two shows,” Beckly says. “Zach and Ted are no longer together, and recently Colin and Oisín have decided to go their separate ways. You can’t help but read their work differently and with greater depth and heaviness after knowing this.”
The ways queer people appear online have also changed, something Kerr says has affected his work.
“It’s totally changed, and it’s totally impacted my work,” Kerr says. “For me, it was interesting to see [everyone’s] work evolve. Tumblr’s a great example. When I started seeing tumblr, and my feed was full of naked white guys . . . my work in some way is in direct opposition to that work and tries to express different aspects of what it means to be queer.”
At the Same Time will open alongside the launch of a self-published companion book of the same name, which features essays by artist AA Bronson, photographer Paul Mpagi Sepuya and artist and writer Sholem Krishtalka.
The exhibition will also be accompanied by a reading of Sarah Schulman’s Ties That Bind, with Schulman, Farzana Doctor and Shani Mootoo.
“That programming is as vital as the photography,” Kerr says. “Queerness is so much about embodiment and the lived experience, and so having Sarah Schulman in Toronto and having her read with Farzana Doctor and Shani Mootoo further explores these ideas in terms of queer life — at any moment for any queer person, so much is going on. Maybe you’re having the romance of your life, but politically there’s other things going on.”
At the Same Time
Fri, Aug 10–Sat, Sept 22
Fri, Aug 10 at 7:30pm
A curator’s tour and reading from Sarah Schulman’s Ties That Bind, with Schulman, Farzana Doctor and Shani Mootoo
Sat, Aug 11 at 4pm
Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives
34 Isabella St