1 min

Dyke March intervention flips the photo op

'Photography can turn everything into a trophy'

Credit: Debi Brock

For years Dyke March participants have complained about the countless cameras lining the route, presumably carried by straight men hoping to snap shots of bare-breasted babes or girl-on-girl action. This year a group of women decided to turn the tables on the photo-graphers and turn them into the spectacle.

Turn The Gays (Gaze) Around was a project conceived of by Gaye Chan, an art history professor at the University Of Hawaii. With the help of a couple of local friends, Chan set about documenting the Dyke March’s paparazzi.

“We spread out at the march,” says Chan. “Actually, we simply lost each other…. Most [photo subjects] did not notice because there were a million cameras and/or they were too focussed on their intended subject. Though they might see us in their photos later.

“Some were confused or thought we were confused. Some probably assumed I was a tourist and just dismissed the oddity of my behaviour as culture miscomprehension. Some tried to move out of the way, thinking they were in the way. Some were annoyed, especially if we singled out a particular prey and stalked him. A few thought it was funny and hammed for our cameras. A rare few would first be confused, then shrugged in realization that it was only fair.”

For Chan, the project ties into her academic work and builds on various social and cultural theories about what it means to see and be seen.

“My interest is not simply to turn the table and collect trophies of paparazzi, but to demonstrate how photography can turn everything into a trophy to collect and display.”

Chan is hoping that the idea will spread to other Dyke Marches.