Lauren Silberman is a photographic artist based in New York City. Her work examines notions of how the human condition expresses itself as manifest through community, identity, popular tradition and ritual. She received her MFA from the International Center of Photography-Bard Program in Advanced Photographic Studies and her BA in Art History from Barnard College. She is currently a faculty member at the International Center of Photography. Lauren has completed residencies with A-Z West (Joshua Tree, California, 2018 and 2016), ArtGarda (Italy, 2015), Mana Contemporary (New Jersey, 2015), the Camera Club of New York (NYC, 2012), the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace program (2009) and was a Visiting Scholar at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She has performed at Location One, Deitch Projects and 3rd Ward, as well as the several underground events and venues that have provided inspiration for her work. Lauren also devotes time to curating shows; her recent projects include A Rose is a Rose is A Rose, a one-night show in a garden in a Brooklyn hardware store, as well as shows at the SPRING/BREAK ART SHOW in both 2016 and 2017. She has been featured in PDN’s photo annual as emerging talent and exhibited in New York and abroad. Some of Lauren’s clients include The New Yorker, NYLON Magazine, Fortune Magazine, Vice, Details Magazine, Bust Magazine, Brooklyn Industries and her work has been featured in the New York Times Magazine and Vogue Italia. She is available for assignment and commissioned work.
“The in-between has always been the place that interests me most – a place of ambiguity, exempt from definition, and rich with possibility. Images of drag queens, photographed at home in various stages of becoming inhabit this fertile and undefined place. While making these images, it has become clear that my subjects are beyond female/male impersonation and that their transformation is beyond gender; they become a more heightened, more pure, more extreme, and more essential version of themselves.
Drag parodies and subverts the mainstream, using feminine ideals, pop culture, and the fashion worlds by exaggerating them and turning them back on themselves. This place of transformation is as empowering as it is subversive for many of my subjects through the infinite possibilities of the “self” that they create; as Madame Vivien V boldly exclaimed during our shoot <when i’m drag, nobody can touch me>.”
These queens celebrate fantastical beauty by using make up and costume as tools to express notions of the feminine. In other examples, the artistry isn’t about this extreme femininity at all, but about pure self- expression; a version of drag in which anything goes and a nod to fluidity in an increasingly non-binary society. The new drag queens present to us a new possibility of what it simply means to be, by creating a new mythology of the hero/heroine in the everyday. A new ideal, their personas are visual expressions of self-determination, celebration and reclamation of the self through extreme make up and costume. This work is a celebration of ambiguity, radical self-expression, and metamorphosis.
Find more on: http://www.laurensilberman.com @misslaurendarling firstname.lastname@example.org