Love has many faces. While you’re out and about this week consider taking a break from checking email, Instagramming, and scrolling Twitter to take note of the real-life 3-D love all around you. Perhaps between parents and children, best friends, or partners in any and every sense of the word—romantic, professional, momentary. Observe it in action—all of those little gestures of intimacy between people—all people—that seem to say better than any word ever could: here is love, in all of its elastic, soaring, practical, messy, undefinable, human, full, “love”-ness.
A word on my (not so) hidden agenda: it’s also Worldpride right now. Officially until the 29th (but honestly can’t we just always be celebrating it?), the city will be lit up with a rich array of LGBTQ events and art. The 10-day celebration features voices from around the world—voices which are too often missing or underrepresented in the mainstream. Sometimes those voices are shared visually, as in a piece called Relationship, presented by Pattison Onestop in partnership with Art in Transit. Between now and July 6th, every 10 minutes on subway platform screens across the city, a series of 45-second slideshows will run, each revealing intimate snapshots depicting the arc of the real-life love story of transgender couple Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst.
The 40 photographs—which were taken by the couple predominantly in LA and between 2008 and 2013—tell the story of their gender transitions in opposite, and intersecting, directions: for Drucker from male to female, and for Ernst from female to male. Within the work, the couple blur the lines between fact and fiction, exploring identity as a construction, and offering an almost cinematic representation of their romance. The photos are intimate and voyeuristic, and have gained attention internationally.
According to Sharon Switzer, curator for Pattison Onestop, “WorldPride is an opportunity to continue breaking down stereotypes, pushing boundaries, and expanding our capacity for acceptance and understanding. It’s my hope that by presenting a Trans love story to millions of people on the subway screens, we are contributing to the ethos and energy” surrounding Pride.
The subway system is really a fantastic venue for this piece. It exposes Drucker and Ernst’s story to (just going to reiterate this:) millions of people, some of whom may not have had exposure to, or know how to actively seek out LGBTQ stories. Moreover, the subway is perfectly integrated into the everyday environment, further highlighting the immediacy and intimacy of the piece and its protagonists. Take note the next time you’re down there, of Drucker and Ernst’s observations on identity, and the many faces of love.