“Rites” by Photographer Vaughan Larsen

A selection of images from “Rites,” by Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based artist Vaughan Larsen. Exploring their queer identity through photographic portraiture, Larsen’s work has received numerous recognitions and has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. They are the founder and curator of That Way, an online platform started in 2018, highlighting the work of LGBTQ+ artists from around the globe, as well as a co-founder of FxG Church, Milwaukee’s largest queer dance party for charity.

“My work is motivated by a desire to share my experiences with others, allowing them to become more aware of the perspectives of LGBTQ+ people, and to celebrate my queer and transgender identity,” they explain. “Rites” is a series of choreographed self-portaits reenacting ceremonies from hetero-normative, cisgender culture. Questioning the societal expectations and roles played by those engaged with age-old rituals, Larsen recreates experiences their family members lived through, altering details to align with their own identity and experience. They elaborate: “In this project, I confront the disappointment I feel not being as welcomed, or able to partake in these rites of passage that are historically not as accessible to me as a queer-identifying person. By creating a visibly-queer character in a space they are typically hidden – the family album – I am showing these fabricated queer experiences with my chosen family.”

See more from “Rites” below!

Self Portrait as my Uncle at Homecoming
Self Portrait as my Grandmother
Self Portrait as my Mother at my Father's Military Ball
Self Portrait as my Mother the day back from the Hospital
Self Portrait as my Mother at Christmas
Self Portrait as my Mother as a Cheerleader
Self Portrait as my Grandfather

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