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Handmade Portraits: Molly Landreth

Jun 21, 2011

by MollyLandreth

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ATTIE.jpgFor the past five years, photographer Molly Landreth has been documenting gay and transgendered life with her vintage, large format camera. What started as a handful of portraits for her MFA at the School of Visual Arts has become a robust body of work — spanning the country from brownstones in Brooklyn to farming communities in the Pacific Northwest.

Molly sees her collection as a visibility project, an archive of images that is needed and that she wants to see. Over the course of embarking on this endeavor, she’s pushed her own boundaries: “The project became less about archiving people that I love and more about putting love into the lesser known stories.”

What is most striking about Molly Landreth’s photos are her subjects’ piercing eyes. They often stare down the camera in a defiant, almost confrontational way.  The 4×5 large format camera requires her subjects to hold still for up to a minute, allowing them to present themselves to the camera instead of striking a quick pose, as they might for a snapshot.  Molly herself is unassuming, letting her subjects choose the setting of their portraits. She describes her process as one of collaboration, relying on “trust and magic” to make beautiful and meaningful images.


Mike Attie’s films have played at and won awards at numerous film festivals, both in the U.S. and abroad. He currently lives in Seattle with his wife Sarah and cats Eddy and Lucy.

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