Gorka Postigo, the photographer of difference: “Being 'queer' is punk.  That is to say 'here I am with my pen'

It is not difficult to recognize the singer and agitator Samantha Hudson among the various and incredible portraits that can be seen from this week at the Alcobendas Art Center. Other faces that accompany her, however, are something else. There is the young man without a shirt who has several tattoos and a stump on his left arm (Luc, according to the epigraph that accompanies him); the black man with his head resting on a single bed and his gaze lost in a reflexive gesture (we read that his name is Djibi); the person who combines several gender markers (the flat chest of men, lingerie, jewelry and the female gesture) and challenges the viewer not to fit her into any of them… Upon entering, we have seen Bimba Bosé. It is not anonymity that makes it difficult to separate the stars from the more peripheral portrayed in this exhibition: it is that all these icons queer they are presented with the same affection. That some are known or not is something purely circumstantial. The lens that has portrayed them sees in them more dignity than status.

Bimba Bosé, photographed in 2016.
Bimba Bosé, photographed in 2016.GORKA SHUTTER

We Are The Flowers In Your Dustbin (We are the flowers of your garbage can) is the first retrospective of Gorka Postigo (Madrid, 44 years old), perhaps one of the most requested Spanish photographers by fashion firms and magazines and, surely, one of those who has a more pro-LGTBIQ discourse publicly compromised. After polishing his technique and his eye with photos and covers for ICON, Vogue Spain either SModaPostigo decided he wanted to say something else, or at least help others say it. “That drive stems from a vocation to help, but also to know myself through other people queer that they are an inspiration for how they position themselves in a cisheteronormative world. They, with their uniqueness and their difference, have made me want to explore the infinite possibilities that exist within the concept queer”, explains today, in the same room as the retrospective, that it will remain on the bill until September 11. “They make me wonder how I can understand which parts are part of my genuine personality and which are part of the shell I’ve created to fit in.” Surrounded by people so different from the norm in form and substance, in perfect poses and frames that celebrate that difference, the difficult thing is not to ask yourself. We are conditioned to pretend that we do not see the differences. Seeing them through the lens of a photographer who masters the codes of fashion image, portraiture and classic beauty has a powerful effect.

Bouba, photographed in 2020.
Bouba, photographed in 2020.GORKA SHUTTER

Postigo has already investigated the potential of this formula in present/future, the book of portraits of trans youth made with an analog camera that he published in 2019. We Are The Flowers in Your Dustbin brings together images taken in the last 22 years, curated by Topacio Fresh and they are not only portraits: there are also still life, landscape and abstraction. A variety that does not dilute the message: “I have always wanted to use beauty as an almost revulsive tool because it dignifies the character, his very existence”, continues the photographer. Something bordering on punk. “The title is punk”, he nuances. “It’s taken from the Sex Pistols, from the song god save the queen [escrita, precisamente, durante el jubileo de plata de Isabel II en 1977]. I think there’s something punk about being queer, in not fitting the norm and insisting on it. ‘Here I am, with my pen, with my difference. You eat it and period’. It’s what I love.”

'We are the flowers of your trash can', tattooed on the back of the neck.
‘We are the flowers of your trash can’, tattooed on the back of the neck.GORKA SHUTTER

There is in that point of view – the combative aspect of the queer, and the power of beauty as a revulsive something almost philosophical. “It’s admiration, fascination and celebration,” declares Postigo. “You can be punk without being overtly grotesque. You can give a punk message with a beautiful image. The underlying message and its intention is the same. It’s actually more effective.”

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