Andrew Tess Captures Pride in Polaroids

Andrew Tess Captures Pride in Polaroids

If you're an avid fan PAPER reader, you'll no doubt be familiar with photographer Andrew Tess' work, capturing intimate behind-the-scenes looks at some of the entertainment industry's biggest nights. From the Tonys to MTV Movie & TV Awards, name a star and Tess probably has a Polaroid of them in his archives — but his latest project sees him turning his lens on queer community for Pride.

Going on its third year, Tess' Pride series returns with a cast of 30 LGBTQIA+ individuals, including familiar faces such as Yung Merlot, Cody Silver, Fernando Casablancas, Nicola Formichetti, Raul Lopez and Brock Colyar. For the project, Tess makes full use of the Polaroid's potential by inviting his subjects to personalize their portraits with an autograph and a message about what Pride means to them.

"This is my third year working on this project and the message of creating queer work for queer people by queer people resonates with me more than ever," Tess says of the series. "I hope this project can act as a portal of healing not only for myself and the subjects, but also anyone who stumbles upon the project — we are all iterations of Pride."

The photographer continues, "The journey has just begun and being LGBTQ+ doesn't mean you have to look or act one singular way. Be you — that's what I aspire to do every day."

As Pride month winds to an end, Tess' photos serve as a reminder that the queer community is rich, vibrant and full of diverse voices that are worth being proud of. Just as the series is tied together by variations of the Pride flag in each portrait, the LGBTQ+ community encompasses a wide variety of individuals — but, at the end of the day, we are all united under the same rainbow banner.

Photography: Andrew Tess