I had a great time making these photos, and I’m very proud of them. But I had to face homophobia and bigotry that changed the original intent of this project. So much so, it will even be present in the very cover of this calendar. The cover will be Miss September, and, ironically, that photograph was shot not in New Hampshire, but at Fisher Bridge in Wolcott, Vermont. The owners of the only bridge with a railroad in New Hampshire, Clark’s Trading Post Bridge, the one I wanted to use, changed their minds on allowing me to shoot on their property, when I told them the model would be a drag queen. When another owner, the owner of Bartlett Bridge, denied me permission because his bridge was a “wholesome place,” I drove away weeping; I didn’t know those two words could strike so hard. I wasn’t expecting these kind of reactions when I first started. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect.
But not all has been like this. Up in Conway, a father and his daughter interrupted my shoot with Laila McQueen. The little girl was absolutely convinced it was a photoshoot with Lady Gaga! I had to disappoint her and let her know Laila McQueen was not in fact Lady Gaga. What a compliment, though! The family seemed enamored with us. It made my day, especially when the day before, my spirits were so low, almost broken.
This is all okay, though. This isn’t supposed to be politically correct, neatly packaged, with impolite details swept under the rug, all imperfections soft-brushed away. This is a snapshot of where we are at, in this present moment. This is my love letter to New Hampshire. This is about its culture — its beauty marks and its warts.