Photographing a Drag Queen

I recently accepted the opportunity to put my talents to good use for a non-for-profit organization that raises money every year for the NYC LGBT community.  It is  ”Broadway Sings for Pride”, the result of Neal Bennington’s need to address the high rates of suicide within the LGBT community.  Since 2011 he has been putting on concerts with some of the best talent on broadway, television, and in the music industry.

I was sent a list of people who needed to be photographed.  I saw on the list, “Sam Given (RENT at the Hollywood Bowl directed by Neil Patrick Harris) would love to do a classic drag queen shoot” and immediately contacted Neal to have me photograph Sam.  I knew immediately upon speaking with Sam that we were going to have a fun shoot – a wonderful package of positive energy.   The only dark cloud was cast by a guy wearing an American flag tie who made a point of telling us that God did not approve of what we were doing.   But that cloud quickly passed because we weren’t going to let it rain on our gay parade.  We shot mostly in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where Sam was providing his own piece of art on display.  Our main ideas were shooting in front of one of the fountains outside the Met Museum; photographing him blowing bubbles; and having him retouch his makeup in a storefront window.  Then we wanted to get a shot or two of “street scenes”, and we found the vendor of a food cart who couldn’t wait to have his picture taken with her, er….him.   So, we accomplished two of the most important things: we got some great shots and we enjoyed ourselves.

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