Queer Brighton in Photos by Molly Landreth

Seattle-based photographer Molly Landreth documents the changing face of England’s camp seaside resort.
By: SheWired Editors
January 21 2011 4:50 PM

In 2010 celebrated English photographer and curator Martin Parr invited Seattle-based photographer Molly Landreth to create "A Portrait of Queer Life in Brighton" for the Brighton Photo Biennial. With only a week to photograph 20 individuals and showcase the work, Landreth felt like she was on a reality show. "It was the most challenging and rewarding thing I have ever done!"

The series stands like a campily upbeat, meditative adjunct to Parr's own seminal (and controversial) 1986 book The Last Resort, which documented the trashy allure of the fading seaside town.

"The people of Brighton have a performative, vintage aesthetic that is playful, friendly and creative," says Landreth, who called on subjects to dress as "who they are or who they want to become" and share their favorite locations in the city. The result: folks in vintage sailor suits, velvet goth capes, top hats, white gloves, leather harnesses and bowties wanting to pose at the the Pier, The Palace, and the Royal Hotel.

"The steampunk movement seems like it grew from this Victorian seaside town," explains Landreth, "which developed the largest LGBTQ population in all of England as a result of the sailors who docked there during the war. It’s a salty seaside city bursting at the seams with creative queer energy, fish 'n' chip baskets, and carnival rides. It was small enough that I walked to every one of my shoots (with the exception of the Pride day campground at Devils Dyke Farm—I kid you not) and friendly enough that I left with new friends and more than a few beers on the house."

Queer Brighton is a sister project to Embodiment: A Portrait of Queer Life in America, begun in 2005 as the first-ever comprehensive photographic survey to approach the LGBTQ community in all its multi-faceted labels, cliques and stereotypes, offering up a brave new visions of what it means to be "queer" today. 

Karol and Cian at The Grand Hotel, Brighton, England. 2010

Johanna and Anna, Brighton, England. 2010

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Fox and Friends in the Lanes, Brighton, England. 2010

Ej Scott, Brighton England. 2010

George and Laura, Heart in Hand Pub, Brighton, England. 2010

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Zack at the Palace, Brighton, England. 2010

Pride Day Campers at Devils Dike Farm #3, Brighton, England. 2010

Pride Day Campers at Devils Dike Farm #1, Brighton, England. 2010

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Kayleigh on the Pier, Brighton, England. 2010

Cara and Daisy Under the Pier, Brighton, England. 2010

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Pride Day Camper at Devils Dyke Farm #6, Brighton, England. 2010

Pride Day Camper at Devils Dyke Farm #5, Brighton, England. 2010

Pride Day Camper at Devils Dyke Farm #4, Brighton, England. 2010

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Pride Day Camper at Devils Dyke Farm #2, Brighton, England. 2010

Pride Day Rainbow, Brighton, England. 2010

Visit MollyLandreth.com for more info on how to commission Molly create a portrait of queer life in your own town.


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