On a path of self-discovery Irish born, London based photographer and DJ Peter Fingleton posed the question What does it take to make a gay relationship work long-term? in a time of gay dating app and bathroom hook-ups.
Fingelton dived into the lives of 6 queer couples, to find out what keeps them together and working and has now unveiled a new series of Images he titles LTR. The British LGBT photographer speaks to us, see the interview below.
Where are you from?
Originally from Ireland, but I’ve been in London almost 7 years now.
What do you do?
I’m a freelance photographer and photo retoucher (and you can occasionally find me DJing or performing in drag at various East London venues).
Are you self-taught or trained?
I studied Fine Art in Dublin and there was some basic introduction to photography there but for the most part, I’m self-taught.
You have done a Queer focussed series previously, “To Be
Young Gifted, Black, and Queer” what draws you to queer politics in your photography?
Well, as a queer person it’s hard to ignore the times we live in and I felt like I needed to channel my anger at how oppressive our society is, into something more pro-active. I am using my passion for photography to make work about people I find inspiring.
How did LTR come about?
Intomore.com reached out and asked me if I had any personal projects I had in mind. With all the progress we’ve made on LGBT rights in recent years I still feel like we are years off from shifting the perception of gays away from deeply ingrained negative stereotypes people have, so I wanted to do something that had a positive outlook.
Personally, I don’t have a whole lot of queer role models in my life when it comes to long-term relationships, and I certainly don’t see gay love represented on tv or in films or even literature regularly in a way that celebrates or even just normalises those who do make long-term relationships work. So I was really interested in seeking out guys who were doing that specifically (as opposed to guys and girls) as I feel the stereotype of promiscuity and being incapable of settling down is much more prevalent for gay men than it is for lesbians.
What do you feel is the stigma on Queer relationships when it comes to being longterm?
It does seem very easy to get used to the ease and lack of commitment that comes with casual hook-ups, and the idea of settling down has negative connotations of having to end your social life, stop clubbing, no more hot sex with random guys etc. and the fear of change and commitment can sometimes overshadow all the great possibilities of being in a relationship.
What did you take away from the exploration of Queer love?
It made me more hopeful for one thing. It’s easy to get disheartened with the London dating scene, dating apps and so on. But seeing such a varied bunch of guys from such different backgrounds and parts of the world making it work was encouraging. It also really underlined for me the importance of openness, honesty, and communication in any relationship.
What’s next for you?
I really enjoyed this project, I think I’d definitely like to find a way of continuing it and shooting more queer couples and families. As for other projects, keep an eye on my Instagram 😉
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