“Drags: Photographs by Gregory Kramer Essays by Charles Busch, Sasha Velour, Linda Simpson, Goldie Peacock, Sweetie”, KMW Studio, 2016.
The Drag Queens and Kings of New York City
“Drags” is a fun collection of drag kings and queens from New York and while I really enjoyed the photos and writeups, I realize that if I were a New Yorker and more familiar with those included, I would have enjoyed this so much more.
This a beautifully designed coffee table book documenting the drag queens and kings of New York City, shot by director/photographer Gregory Kramer. The models are presented in the style of classic fashion portraiture and features legends and up-and-coming legends in glamorous black and white, full-length studio portraits. Each photo brings out the spirit of the performer through subtle pose, gesture and facial expression.
Included are five stories written by icons of drag. Charles Busch writes about how it feels to be in drag and his utmost respect for female role models, Sasha Velour speaks about the magic and transformative power of drag as an art form, Linda Simpson comments on the generational shift in the community, Goldie Peacock presents a distinct point of view from a drag king, while Sweetie pays homage to the queens who’ve come before.
We become aware that the world of drag deserves endless appreciation. Photographer Kramer called upon New York’s drag community to come and pose in front of his camera thus giving us a sumptuous monograph with 80s black and white portraits “that take in the full glamour and glory of New York’s finest.” Drag “is like an act of magic, a way of casting spells. If a spell is meant to change the living world through the constitutive powers of language, then I think drag is meant to change it through fashion, gesture, and effect.” We gain a rare insight into how the flamboyantly-dressed performers behind the wigs, heels and make-up really feel on stage.
Gregory Kramer is a New York City-based photographer and director whose ability for creating expressive images has quickly made him a highly sought-after photographer and director. His editorial work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Australian Cleo, Poster and Oyster. His advertising clients include Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Worth New York.