From their Brooklyn studio, photographer Elle Pérez ruminates on power of the photograph to capture the moments that words can’t describe. Shown highlighting excerpts from inspiring texts, reviewing prints, and creating large-scale wall collages of words and images, Pérez explains how they began photographing aspiring entertainment wrestlers in their native Bronx neighborhood. Pérez relates the scripted and choreographed nature of these wrestlers to their own process of creating portrait photography; “I don’t think there’s a way to involve a camera without immediately involving a kind of fiction,” explains Pérez.
Shooting in a nearby Bushwick park, Pérez works collaboratively with a friend to create a photograph. The artist candidly explains that the raw, visceral, and emotionally authentic quality of their photographs is often mistaken for documentary; however, the photographs are carefully staged, despite their effortless quality. Born of this close relationship with each person photographed, Pérez describes their photographs as depicting the traces of queer experiences without showing the spectacle of those experiences. Pérez relates the undefinable quality of queerness to photography, calling the photograph “a perfect container because it is not actually, ever, definitive.”
Co-Directed & Edited by Lorena Alvarado
Produced by Art21