Tonights fabulous queer art feature is photography by @_mikehenson featuring @itsdemihollow
My name’s Mike Henson and I’m a Photographer from North East, England. Specifically the post-industrial, very working class town of Middlesbrough.
I was always clever as a kid, always very technically minded, very logic based and not an artistic bone in my body. I think had a wonderful creativity and mind but I just had no outlet and went back to being the smart kid. At 17 I got a job in a photography studio, and it sort of blew the cobwebs off my creativity. Photography was like maths and science making art. Some people really hate the technical side of photography, and I get it, they just want the tool. But it’s just something I love. It’s the perfect mix of logic and creativity, for me.
I found myself lacking in creative knowledge and foundations and signed up to a local art school to study Commercial Photography. The first year was spent cementing all the technical things I already knew for the past 10 years. The second year allowed for more creativity, experimentation and research. It was in my second year I created these images. They were my sort of ‘fuck you’ to people telling me what ‘commercial photography’ is and should be. I’ve always been moved most by the type of people who have an underlying ‘dont tell me what to do’ tone to their work. Diane Arbus, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jeurgen Teller, Wolfgang Tillmans. Pierre et Gilles. There’s just something about them that screams, for want of a better term....big dick energy.
Having spent my childhood, like so many others, concealing who I was, learning how best to act and express myself to avoid negative comments, I’ve found myself fascinated in what it is to be a man. Why is masculinity so important to people and why does the term have such high criteria to fit under? I think that’s the direction my work is taking right now. I think I want to celebrate men and masculinity almost like I’m giving them permission to not hold themselves to society’s standards and hopefully somewhere along the way I can give myself the same.
These pictures in particular are of a local drag queen Demi Hollow. Demi, or Lee when out of tuck, was my first boyfriend way back when. There’s probably something poetic about using him when searching for my own identity through my work now, when I relied on him so much back then to do the same through our relationship.