For Lovers Only
“To me, love is the ability to show another individual care and support, to show them they matter in this world—in your world. The concept of loving people is easy to me. However, so many people struggle with it. But honestly, love is freedom—and the moment you show it, it’s such a beautiful feeling,” said Dread, speaking to office about her recent art show in Brooklyn.
Dread's exhibition took place a few weeks ago inside a cozy showroom filled with over 100 people. At the gathering, Dread’s photo series hung on display alongside a screening room for her short film, both paying homage to queer love. The series accentuates the individual and one’s own intimate encounters with love. The film and photographs were vital for the viewers to completely understand Dread’s depiction. Both art mediums complemented each other, similar to the way in which people bring forth love from one another.
Dread’s message is clear: Love is expressive—but can often be difficult to understand. Queer: For Lovers Only renders images that some know only as a feeling.
office sat down with Dread to talk about her latest project. Check out the interview below.
Explain the concept behind Queer: For Lovers Only.
Queer: For Lovers Only is a visual art project capturing queer individuals and couples within our community discussing love, relationships, being single and self-love. Over 25 people were captured in the form of photographic prints and featured in a short documentary film. The purpose of this series is to display representation of the Queer community in regards to all forms of love. My goal is to shed light on how and who we love, in hopes of allowing understanding and unity.
Why did you create this project?
I created this project to display representation of other queer lovers within my community. I like creating projects based around vulnerable topics, and love within the queer community is something that needs more representation. I think love between queer individuals is a bit different than heteronormative love, as it challenges gender roles. And I wanted to offer some understanding to people outside my community.
Are you part of the LGBTQ community as well?
I am indeed. I identify as a queer lesbian.
Where did you capture your images?
Honestly, the majority of the images were captured on my roof in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. I rented out a studio in Long Island City for a few shoots and also shot on a secluded beach near Rockaway, Queens.
On one of your Instagram posts featuring a clip for your film, part of your caption said, “side note: this isn’t a documentary about couples. it’s just about queer ppl who love.” Can you talk more about this?
Yes, of course. For some reason many couples kept contacting me to be a part of this series. I just wanted it to be known—this is not a documentary based solely on couples. Individuals not in a romantic relationship (such as myself) also love on a daily basis and are capable of giving and receiving love. I wanted to include all aspects of love: romantic love, self-love, past love, future love, etc.
Does the film feel like a separate entity to the photography series? What's their relationship to one another?
The film enhances the photographs. With photographs sometimes, we as viewers create our own stories. However, the film allows for a better understanding of the people captured in the series, as they are able to express themselves and tell their own stories. This project could not have been completed with just the film or just the photographs. I think they are both equally as important, and they really allow the viewers to understand what this series is about.
What was it like at the event/screening?
The event was incredible. I always have major anxiety the night of any solo exhibit, and this was no different. But so many people came out to show support, and the responses I received on the film and art were very positive and motivating. I was nervous, because this was my first time exhibiting at this particular venue. But the turn out was more than I expected, and everyone was so kind and loving.
When I think of love, I don’t necessarily think of romantic love. That’s just one type of love. There is also the love I share with my friends, my family, the love I share with myself. I am absolutely in love with my friends, and I don’t think being in love with people always has to be a sexual relationship. To me, love is the ability to show another individual care and support, to show them they matter in this world—in your world. The concept of loving people is easy to me. However, so many people struggle with it. But honestly, love is freedom—and the moment you show it, it’s such a beautiful feeling.