Love conquers all

In her ‘Talk to Aletta’ blog of September 12, Aletta’s Antia Wiersma demonstrates a prophetic talent. She predicted who would win the Audience Award at the exhibition of the winning photos of Pride Photo Award 2011. The audience nominated their favourite entries out of 18 photo series: the numbers one, two and three from six different categories. Together they displayed a wide variety of subjects and photographic styles.
This diversity was very much in keeping with the aims of Pride Photo Award: demonstrating the diversity of the LGBT community and of gender identities. Photographs that made people reconsider notions of masculinity and femininity.

Photographs about violence, such as the conceptually strong series by Martijn Gijsbertsen – ‘Same Time, Same Place’ – who photographed victims of homophobic violence with the Google Map of the crime location projected over them as a visual scar.

Gijsbertsen ended in third place, after ‘A Series of Questions’ by the American photographer L Weingarten. In his series, transgender people hold up a sign with questions they have been asked – sometimes by strangers, sometimes by family – such as: “Do you still have a vagina?”, “Why can’t you be a regular gay guy?” and “Haven’t you already done enough to hurt me?”

The winner of the Audience Award, however, is one of the most positive sets in the exposition. The series ‘Good Old Gays’ consists of portraits of gay and lesbian couples who have been together for thirty years or more. Paul Koeleman took photographs of them at home, close together. The place where he took his pictures, their posture, their clothes, all suggest an attachment, a solidarity, an enduring love.

As Antia wrote: “These photos pay homage to love and faith. And it is fitting that they should be the concluding piece of the exhibition. Having been shown a lot of misery and injustice – however beautifully photographed – members of the audience will still leave the exhibition with a feeling of hope after seeing ‘Good Old Gays’.

Love conquers all.

Pride Photo Award is an annual international contest for photos about sexual and gender diversity.

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