A Resistance of Normality Through Imagery: Queer Aesthetics and Contemporary Queer Photography

This thesis focuses on the contemporary queer photography of the artists Zanele Muholi, Momo Okabe, and Zach Blas. More specifically, it examines the role of different theories on gender, queerness, and photography in connection to queer time and space, haptics, affect, and queer opacity. These aesthetic elements are treated as potentially subversive in relation to Gilles Deleuze’s concept of the society of control. The frameworks of both queer and photography theories are employed to analyze the photographs’ formal and political aspects in order to explore their subversive possibilities.

My readings and analysis of the photographs suggest that each of these artists deploys aesthetic features as queer tactics to resist the society of control. Additionally, based on the analysis of my own photographic series, Showering with Glasses (2018), I provide an artist’s perspective on possible methods to approach queer aesthetics and the ways in which they might be harnessed as queer tactics. By specifically addressing contemporary queer photography, my hope is to provide insight into what this genre is capable of achieving in the real world.

You can read the full thesis here.