Image above by Daragh Soden
Queer View Lens
I was first introduced to the work of Daragh Soden at an exhibition at Rathfarnham Castle, in the suburbs of Dublin, at the 2022 edition of PhotoIreland Festival. The striking contrast of the art and the location was beautifully apparent from entering the first room with the opening image in the series setting the tone. A tangerine dream: a doe-eyed person in a full face of costume makeup, accented with blue, white, and a grounding fuchsia presence, crouched down in their bedroom. Daragh, the artist, is sitting just behind, shutter in hand to capture the shot, dressed more ‘everyday’. There is an intrigue in both sitters, staring down the camera. This is a world of drag, camp, fluidity of gender, of thought and performance. This is quite the contrast to the castle’s painted murals of religious iconography and scenes, but also not. In all, it is a performance and play.
Titled Ladies and Gentleman, Soden’s series is as much an announcement of a performance, as it is an invitation for the audience to question these terms, their inferences, and our expectations from them. This a fluid space, it is a space understanding that both those terms have meaning that we can lean to and lean from. Judith Butler articulates this in more fluent thoughts: gender is a construct and performance, it is a way we navigate the world, it is a way the world sees us and the way we see ourselves. To quote RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Sasha Velour: “gender is a construct, tear it apart”...Read the full article in the printed issue. Get OVER Journal 3