Queer-identified photographer Dayna Danger’s pictures are hot, in a weird sort of way. They depict women and trans people, oiled up, with antlers in front of their crotches. But there’s more to them than meets the eye.
Danger is part Metis and Ojibway, and recently took an interest in hunting practices — traditional versus modern, indigenous versus white. She learned that hunting magazines often use the same language to describe women as they do to describe animals.
“So, a turkey becomes a redhead, the doe becomes a sexy, young woman, and older, less desirable animals are spinsters or old maids,” she says. And the hunter stalks his prey (his lover?) in a sort or rapey way and eventually shoots it (kills her? Abuses her?).
Understandably, Danger finds this disturbing. She says she’s always focused on “representations of female and woman-identified individuals,” and finds that having them represented this way, and especially without their consent, is problematic.
So, focusing on antlers — a big set, or rack, of antlers is often called the same thing as a set of large breasts: “big ones” — she addressed this issue with a series of pictures. Six pictures from her series — appropriately titled Big’Uns — will exhibit for the month of August.
If naked bodies decorated with antlers draw attention to the way some people are talked about in hunting magazines, great. But Danger is less concerned about persuading politically incorrect hunting journalists to use better language than she is with empowering people in her community.
By exhibiting pictures of a bunch of women and trans people who chose to pose with the antlers — to, in a sense, take back control over how they’re portrayed in relation to those antlers — Danger hopes to reclaim how such people are portrayed and empower them.
And if Danger’s political statement ends up having an impact and being sexy, she doesn’t mind one little bit. “There’s more going on [in the series],” she says. “But baby oil makes everyone look so freakin’ sexy.”