Tom Atwood has made a career out of taking pictures of people in their homes: “I shoot subjects at home because our natural habitats bring out our true character,” says the out photographer, whose latest coffee table book Kings & Queens in Their Castles has just been published by Damiani.
The book features more than 15 years worth of portraits—more than 150 subjects, including John Waters, Alan Cumming, George Takei, Don Lemon, Michael Urie, and Barney Frank. But there are also farmers, salesmen, politicians, homeless advocates and beekeepers.
“There is a common LGBTQ sensibility that sets us apart that I wanted to recognize and celebrate,” Atwood says. “This sensibility shares an outlook with the sensibility of creative and cultural leaders—an awareness of difference, of other, of possibility—an avant-garde mindset.”
Blending portraiture and architectural photography, he says, his work “illustrate[s] that subjects and environments are a unified fabric… our living spaces can also be the ultimate in self-expression.” The combination of a wide-angle lens and wide depth of field ensure neither subject nor space dominate.
Atwood chose a wide diversity of ages, identities and experiences for Kings & Queens subjects. “Many LGBTQ series depict scantily-clothed young subjects romping through the forest or lounging on the beach,” he explains.
“There was a need for a series highlighting our manifold personalities and backgrounds. And I wanted to create a body of work that would strengthen the identity of and be a source of pride for the LGBTQ community, as well as feature role models.”