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A Queer Wedding, Dunsmuir, CA | Asten Holmes-Elliott
asten
LUYD
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A Queer Wedding, Dunsmuir, CA

we do not belong here.

In many ways these photos read as a fairly literal response to the theme: queer people in natural settings. But why then do they look so unnatural? The figures appear to jar with the backdrops. Presumably, enjoying nature is seen as the pinnacle of human experience, drawing to mind the young, white, mother and father, happy and healthy, striding through an Alpine scene with two children in tow – something to aim for, to strive for, the ideal. When people deviate and become marginalised, society not only excludes them from institutions (like marriage) but also from aspiration of the (heteronormative) ideal – we do not belong here.

Asten Holmes-Elliott
Photo collection for PHOTOGRAPHIC EARTH SAGAS vol. 3

I travelled with my wife to California for a queer wedding of some very good friends. We invented a regime that we stuck to before leaving called “HTD” (Health To Destroy), knowing we would spend very little of the trip sober, and so as last time I came back from America with appendicitis, I wanted to make sure my debauchery would be unimpeded.

It was an amazing trip of two hag dos (queer term for stag/hen do), a queer wedding in a botanical garden, drag queen brunch, queer dancing in the mission like old times, psychedelic cat leggings, lip syncing for our lives, driving in convoy road trips, drunk lake swimming, crunk lake swimming, secret waterfalls, freight trains, party boats, straws, thrift stores, queer pong, bears, moon landscapes, unfortunate british misunderstanding of a polystyrene cool box, gin, scary Californian wilderness, tequila, winning $65 from a 1 cent bet at a casino, instantly losing $75 soon after, unwillingly learning to dance ‘merican, homemade moonshine Lemon cello, chickens, Jurassic Park, Homoraucous and hotness.

I got a new old manual lens (new to me, old to the world) for my 6D Canon just before leaving, and was trying it out. It is an AUTO Chinon 2.8 35mm that I used with a M42 adapter and it worked pretty good, no problems with mirror slap. It was a cheap lens, and the aperture doesn’t close down smoothly, creating strange flares sometimes. I was down with this, but some people might not be, so might not be the best lens for you. I wanted a 35mm size lens for the trip, and couldn’t afford a new one, and am always up for a frankenstein camera equipment adventure.

Photography