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Tom Atwood May Want to Take Your Picture
January 5, 2012
by John Long

Click For Full Size Tom Atwood, a Los Angeles-based photographer, will be in Kansas City at the end of January looking to photograph interesting LGBT people and their homes for a book he’s working on, called Kings & Queens in Their Castles.

He’s a photographer of the stars and although the book will have many LGBT artists, he is also looking for interesting non-celebrities. He described some of the subject matter he’s looking for in an email to me: “Basically anyone with an unusual or visually interesting home. Maybe they have a strange collection or live on a farm or in a shack. I especially need women and people who are the opposite of wealthy.”

His gallery photographs from Kings & Queens in Their Castles have won numerous awards, including first place in both the Portraiture in the Prix de la Photographie Paris competition and Portraiture in the Worldwide Photography Gala Awards. Atwood’s first book, Kings in Their Castles, also won Best Photography Book of The Year from ISO Books.

In Atwood’s artist statement about his reason for this new book, he states:

Gay, lesbian and transgender individuals take great pride in cities. We congregate in the most beautiful of cities – New York, San Francisco, Sydney and Amsterdam. We would gladly trade half of even the smallest apartments to live in more interesting neighborhoods. And it is no secret that we are urban pioneers, the first to appreciate undiscovered neighborhoods. Our arrival often precedes a wave of cafés, bookstores, galleries and in time, straight style-watchers.

Similarly, we take great pride in our living spaces. With a flair for design, we craft playful, often outlandish homes. Our apartments follow fashion – brushed steel instead of marble, neopolitan martinis in lieu of beer – and flee from it, with fine antiques balancing disposable kitsch. For a community that is obsessed with image and beauty, our living spaces are the ultimate in self-expression. The gay individual’s home is an extension of him or herself.

There is a profound need for a photo documentary of the gay, lesbian and transgender community that downplays flesh and rather highlights the complicated, multi-dimensional personalities of its members. Given how urban and urbane we are, why is it that most gay photography series depict nudes on the beach or romping in the forest? Kings & Queens in Their Castles responds to this need by documenting gay, lesbian and transgender individuals at home in the United States. I offer a window into the lives and apartments of some of the most intriguing personalities in America. Alongside the bankers, media professionals and architects, I document a breed of urban bohemians, beatniks, mavericks and iconoclasts that seems to be slowly disappearing. Greater acceptance and assimilation, while clearly a desired shift, entails its own kind of loss.

The book will feature at-home portraits of LGBT individuals with more than 60 luminaries, including John Waters, Tommy Tune, Greg Louganis, Alan Cumming, Barney Frank, Chely Wright, George Takei and more.

We will post more details of this photography visit on campkc.com and the Camp Kansas City Facebook page. If you think Atwood might want to photograph you or someone you know, contact me and I’ll connect you to the photographer. JLong@campkc.com. 816-221-0199

You can see more of Atwood’s work at www.TomAtwood.com.

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