Kevin Truong wants to create the biggest gay yearbook in the world. His Gay Men Project has been invited into the homes of over 300 queer men with the simple goal to capture authentic portraits — gays in their natural habitat, if you will.
In August 2012, I was excited to be a part and have Kevin come in to photograph my then-apartment on Pearl Street and Pink Alley for two reasons:
1. It was the last weekend in that apartment and after two years, I wanted to document my first San Francisco living space for posterity’s sake.
2. I was really interested in Kevin’s dedication and the simple mission that touched upon many layers of representing queer identity.
Kevin has photographed beautiful models during Fashion Week, and he has created stunning portfolios for big name brands. It’s refreshing to help out a creative spirit doing something more personal, taking on this independent project and self-funding it out of unadulterated love.
When I first met him, I didn’t feel the need to ask him why he was doing this. Why not? Most times our most curious passions are limited by our own self-imposed need for external permission. Seeing Kevin running wild with this is truly an inspiration.
I also respect his visible effort to represent diversity in the gay community. Most projects with a similar intent that I’ve seen barely scratch the surface by solely documenting the experience of gay urban twenty-somethings of a certain skin color (and they just end up as showcases of internalized homophobia). Kevin photographs the young and the old, the white and the black, the ugly and fat.
Another part of the project that is interesting to me is how it keeps moving forward by friend-of-a-friend recommendations. In San Francisco, I suggested to Tom, Joseph and Jason to have their environments photographed and was glad to see that Alex, Alden and Jake had been a part of it as well on the East Coast. The gay social network is bicoastal.