Capturing Queer America, 30 Years After Mapplethorpe

Molly Landreth’s Portraits Recall Classic Images While Obliterating Familiar Narratives

Zócalo’s editors are highlighting some of our favorite pieces from the archive. This week: Writer Sarah Coolidge spotlights photographer Molly Landreth’s revolutionary approach to queer portraiture. Landreth’s Embodiment Project captured “people who seemed to have a complex identity—something unfamiliar.”

In classic gay coming-of-age stories, the small-town misfit escapes to the big city—the bigger the better. Robert Mapplethorpe left his home in Floral Park, Queens for art school in Brooklyn and then New York City, where he fell in with a group of artists and eccentrics, …