Pride means many things to me, and each one of them is different from the next. This year, I spent 90% of it behind my camera, running around capturing rainbows and smiles and inebriated queers having a great time.
It's certainly a different perspective to have, being more of a documentarian than a "goer," but I wouldn't trade it for a thing. My first Seattle Pride overlapped with the national news of marriage equality and was fresh off a very difficult emotional time for me.
This year it's a celebration of progress and a reminder of current opportunities for furthering the agenda. Appropriately, I saw more trans flags than ever, at a time when we owe so much of our energy to our trans brothers and sisters. I have never seen so many pronoun pins, nor cisgender/heterosexual (cis-het, for short) individuals celebrating alongside us queers. It felt, in many ways, like a sign of what's to come. And now that Seattle's Pride is over, we'll take our rest, and then get back to work. If you're sick of hearing about how you need to vote this fall, that's a great thing. It means everyone with a platform is pushing the importance of that topic. We need action big and small - from political engagement to spreading awareness. From experiencing new things as LGTBQ individuals and allies to encouraging proper pronoun use and educating the masses.
Getting off the soapbox to present to you the fun components of Pride this year. Here's a visual, chronological view into my 2018 Pride experience.
Stand Up for Pride: Fortune Feimster and Jessy Kiersen (hosted by Five Senses Reeling)
The first of my Pride events was Five Senses Reeling's Stand Up for Pride with Fortune Feimster and Jessy Kiersen. I shot the VIP meet & greet, as well as the show itself. These ladies are truly amazing comics and had the packed-house living for their gay jokes and self-reflection.
Trans Pride at Cal Anderson Park
Trans Pride almost didn't happen this year - but after an eleventh-hour fundraising push, a successful and packed Trans Pride welcomed huge crowds to Cal Anderson Park. I didn't get a ton of pics, but here's one with our friend Parker and the buttons we made!
PrideFest: Broadway on Capitol Hill
Saturday morning started off with Broadway PrideFest and Capitol Hill Pride at Cal Anderson Park. There was no shortage of entertainment, rainbows, and glitter. For more photos from PrideFest, check out my article CHS Pics | From gray to rainbows with Capitol Hill 2018 Pride celebrations for Capitol Hill Seattle blog.
BTW: Meet & Greet with Adore Delano, Willam, and Eddie Danger
Another Five Senses Reeling Event, I was thrilled to be the meet & greet photographer for BTW, featuring Willam, Adore Delano, and Eddie Danger. Be on the lookout for a photoshoot Eddie and I did earlier in the day. ;)
Pride Parade with Glamazon
I have many friends at Amazon, and several who help to organize their LGBTQ+ Affinity Group, Glamazon. One of several events I am shooting with Glamazon, the Pride Parade was an awesome opportunity to follow a colorful group of Amazon employees around to capture the excitement.
Glamazon does a lot of internal work like encouraging the organization to find a diversity-friendly HQ2, to creating employee guidelines like their Transgender Toolkit in the UK, and ensuring that uniforms, pronoun use, and bathroom accessibility reflects employee gender identity. On the outside, Amazon added Pride Facts to the list of Alexa's capabilities, and is a major donor to many Seattle-area causes including Trans Pride this year.
PrideFest Seattle Center: Main Stage
So I did something a little different this Pride, something far outside my comfort zone. On the main stage at Seattle Center, I performed alongside Puddin' Pies as a backup dancer for RainbowGore Cake. We created original choreography (with some bits based on Leslie Hall's original viral video) to "Tight Pants/Body Rolls." It was a blast and I can't wait to do something equally weird again soon.
You can see Leslie Hall's original here.
The Cuff Complex: Saturday Block Party
For last year's Pride, I was fortunate enough to photograph the Cuff's Sunday block party, and they had me back again this year! It was an amazing two-day block party of performances starting on Saturday with AB Soto, Big Dipper, Adé, and more.
AB Soto and I did a photoshoot earlier in the day you should be on the lookout for, as well!
The Cuff Complex's 25th Annual Pride Sunday Block Party
Sunday was equally amazing at the Cuff - Kennedy Davenport performed like I've never seen a lipsync performed, Inaya Day wowed everyone, and CeCe Peniston brought out all her hits including "Finally." Big Dipper returned to the stage with tons of crowd participation (and feeding), followed by Lisa Lisa, who had the entire crowd going over her classics.
The Cuff always brings in a diverse group of amazing performers, many of them dance/club/gay music icons. I'm thrilled to be part of their events and thankful to meet and hang out with the talent backstage.
Pride 2018 was amazing - it kept me very busy behind the camera. I'm still recovering physically (and sorting through 8,000 photos of all these events) but it was an amazing experience and I wouldn't have it any other way. Taking this moment to reflect (and see how long this post got) reminds me of how fortunate I am for all these opportunities, and to be surrounded by so many amazing people.
Bonus: Pico the Drag Dog
My good friend, Amin, proposed a recreation of a viral video that blew up on the gay internet recently. In it, Mark Kanemura performs to Carly Rae Jepsen's "Cut to the Feeling," with flying wig reveals and an explosion of rainbow confetti. Kicking off Pride Week, we recreated the video down to every detail with Amin's dog, Pico, and it blew up!
The video was reposted by Mark, and has consistently been receiving thousands of views on Facebook and Instagram, and hundreds of retweets and likes on Twitter! Above is a side-by-side of the two videos, for reference.
Do you like gay stuff and photography? You might like these other blogs by Dylan:
And these articles:
Dylan is a sex-positive Seattle-based portrait photographer passionate about social justice, the male form, and finding the right time each day to switch from iced coffee to whiskey. He’s on Instagram @dylanmaustin, Twitter @dylanmaustin, and on his website at www.dylanmaustin.com.