Imagine the subtle genius of Irving Penn’s photographs, the simplicity behind his captures of character. Now project it into the aesthetic appetite of 2018 and you’ve got DRAGS, Gregory’s Kramer latest project. Channeling the timeless essence of Penn’s portraiture and giving it the drag queen treatment, Gregory Kramer embarks on a photographic interrogation of New York City’s drag scene. Through his black & white, studio-length prints he aims to immortalise the essence of each and every drag king and queen to grace his studio with an elegant precision that aligns his photo series to an aesthetic worthy of Classic Hollywood portraits, emblematic for future generations. Kramer’s vision, honed by a successful career in advertising photography, creates a portal into the spirit of each performer through his careful direction of pose, expression and gesture – to be paralleled with the absolute individuality generated by each drag artist authoring their own look.
To further puncture the project, Kramer gathered stories from five fixtures on the New York drag scene, allowing them to express what slipping into the skin of their alter-ego entails. You’ve got Linda Simpson rejoicing in the ever-expanding boundaries of gender expression in a meditation on the progression of drag and you’ve got Goldie Peacock calling for drag kings’ moment in the spotlight. You’ve got Charles Busch describing the fluidity of slipping in and out of drag and you’ve even got Sasha Velour’s musings on the magical qualities of drag as a space of reinvention and revolution. It is a classy, intimate project, that amplifies the voice of a community and celebrates it alike those stars, those models that contributed to fashioning it.