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Behind the Lens with Laurence Philomène | Queer Musings

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Laurence Philomène is a non-binary photographer, director and curator based in Montreal, Canada. Laurence’s work is colorful and candid and deals largely with queerness, identity and color theory. You can find their work on their website www.laurencephilomene.com and on Instagram @laurencephilomene

Tell us a little about your creative journey — how you got to the work you’re doing
I got into photography around the age of 13-14 when I started photographing Blythe dolls and putting those pictures up on Flickr. I got a positive response to those images online and it encouraged me to keep going, eventually I moved on to taking a lot of self portraits and pictures of my friends and it became kind of a second nature for me to document my life.

Laurence's self portrait as a Blythe

Was there a moment in time when you you realized you were an artist?

I think I am just realizing it now!! I have been doing this for 10 years and I’m realizing how much of my life has been shaped by/around photography, how I live to document my life, and how lucky I am to be able to do this for a living!!

Is there a relationship between your identity (queer/gender/otherwise) and the work you make?

My personal work is entirely autobiographical and I’ve been exploring my own gender identity through it for many years now. A lot of it isn’t about the idea of man/woman per say but exploring the concepts of femininity and masculinity as a whole, and trying to blend the two as much as I can.

Lucky Portrait

Tell us about an exciting and/or new work/project/thing you’re working on; how did it originate? How is it related to other work you’ve done?

I’m working on a self portrait series that will be a re-working of my 2012 project “feminine identities” but using myself as the model as opposed to other people - it’ll be a while before it’s out so you get the scoop! Right now I’m really into dedicating time and energy to long term projects, so it will probably a year long project or so. I am also working on a documentary series of my best friend Lucky, which I have been shooting for the last 7 years - the series explores gender identity, mental health, transformations of all types, etc.

What is next for you? Do you have any hopes, dreams, plans you are excited about?

I am currently (very slowly) working on my retrospective book, which will be published in Paris later this year. My biggest dream is to have a museum exhibition one day!!!!

Rochelle Portrait
What is inspiring to you right now — other makers/artists/musicians/ideas/cultural trends?

My friends are always my main source of inspiration. As always, I’m inspired by a blend of masculinity and femininity. I’m inspired by dedication and perseverance!! I don’t know if that’s a trend but it should be.

Who are your fashion/beauty icons? Whose look inspires you?

Gerard Way in the music video for “Helena” forever and always.

William Portrait

What was your first “makeup moment” and what do you wear today?

I never got into makeup because I think it always made me feel very dysphoric as teen - I don’t wear makeup daily but I have a face moisturizing routine that’s my favourite part of the day!! When I go out I wear messy red eyeshadow and some mascara.

Photographs by Laurence Philomène.