Photographer Gabriel Garcia Roman’s portraits feature friends and acquaintances, activists and poets, Americans and immigrants — some naturalized, some undocumented.
All of them are queer people of color.
“I wanted to specifically focus on this community because queer and trans people of color are so rarely represented in the art world,” says Roman, who is Mexican-American and also identifies as queer.
The photo series, called “Queer Icons,” evokes the colorful, religious artwork that Roman grew up with. “Because I grew up Catholic in a Mexican community in Chicago, my first introduction to art was religious art,” he says.
He was particularly inspired by the fresco paintings of haloed saints that decorated the walls of his neighborhood church. “I’ve always thought of the halo as something very powerful — it’s like a badge of nobility,” he says.
And because Roman’s subjects are activists and artists who do good for the community, “I wanted to represent them as saints,” he says.
He also wanted to capture their pride and their strength. “I wanted them to be warriors — that’s why a lot of them are looking straight at the camera, saying ‘Here I am, and I’m not going to hide.’”
Photo credit: Courtesy of Gabriel Garcia Roman