Through a series of film photographs, “No Queer Apologies” photo book and exhibition, aims to interrogate both our sense of place and the ways in which queerness exists, permeates, and reshapes space.
In exploring the queer experience in a private and public context, and the liminality where the two intersect, this series seeks to strip space of its heteronormative rules that have long drawn boundaries governing space, deciding what is and what should be.
Instead, and in their place, I hope these photos succeed in illustrating the “open mesh of possibilities, gaps, overlaps, dissonances and resonances, lapses and excesses of meaning” which are performed, expressed, and have persisted to reinvent queerness in many of its celebrated iterations, because of and in spite of these rules.
In the private context, we think of mind and body, self-expression behind closed doors and half-opened blinds through which the light creeps in. These places represent an inner sanctum that sees queerness expressed in relation to oneself, one’s body, one’s thoughts, and one’s personal objects. In the public context, it’s the locker rooms, the bathroom stalls, and the streets. It’s the places sometimes unsafe and the places where heteronormativity’s security is coveted.
Where there is an intersection between the private and public queer experience, there is also a creation of new space, reimagined and put to different uses. Like dark corners, these spaces are cloaked from public view and make private moments and acts of queer intimacy possible.
At the core of this project is the idea that there is an infinite set of ‘possibilities’ in relation to queer expression, looks, feelings, experience and definitions. These photos are my own attempt at capturing a few in the light, many grounded in lived experience or memorable conversations. As such, I hope they are inclusive of some of the viewer’s experiences, but I humbly acknowledge where they fall short. “No Queer Apologies” establishes what should already be abundantly clear: no apologies were made during the making of this queer project.
About the Artist
Niamh Barry is a self-taught film photographer based in Dublin, Ireland. You will often find Niamh capturing moments that normally go unseen through her analog street photography, working with fellow creatives to capture varying artistic visions, and, most notably, exploring queer experiences within Irish society.
She magnifies queer Irish identities through portraiture and documentary photography, conveying the intimate moments and emotions of queer life in a country marked by the rigid sexual mores of Catholicism. Through her work, she hopes to shed a humanising light on Ireland’s queer citizens, especially those that do not fit within traditional notions of Irish femininity, masculinity, or sexuality. Her work such as “Queer Hearts of Dublin” and most recently, “No Queer Apologies”, encourages spectators to connect with her subjects as individuals and as a community. Seeing this as a collective effort to call upon fellow queer Irish artists to serve as her subjects and collaborations, her overall work is simultaneously a call for solidarity and a call to action.