Profile - pure nift

Dan Govan

Hello!

I'm an Edinburgh born, camera-carrying, usually-anxious, glamour-adjacent wallflower, and photography was a hobby that's grown wildly out of control. I started with snapshots of nights out in 2008, but as I moved to east London in 2011 I was naturally was dabbling in club photography by 2012. It was my mission to try and capture those beautiful split-second moments of unguarded joy, whilst skipping some of the mess. In ten years of taking hundreds of thousands of photos documenting queer nightlife (and deleting most of them), I also learned a lot about how people see themselves.

A couple of years ago I started dabbling in portraiture, exploring vulnerability, masking masculinity in vivid disorienting colours, trying to show some alternative to what the mirror shows. I'm currently running two portraiture projects:


A Different Light

An attempt to challenge some of the humdrum masculine ideals found in queer media, an escapist counterpoint to glossy magazines or grungy zines.


Living Vivid

A collaborative crusade to learn from, signal-boost and celebrate some of the local queer icons out there writing their own rulebooks. Featured recently in a two month exhibition at Dalston Superstore

Artist's Statement

For ten years I've been photographing queer nightlife, capturing split-second moments of unguarded joy at clubs and shows.Two years ago I turned my camera on myself, using light and colour to distance myself from my own self image: looking for a measure of objectivity and developing a vivid, surreal style. I experiment by sculpting with light and both masking and celebrating with colour, so exposing the illusions endemic in photography by making them conspicuous.

As a club photographer I learned a lot about how people see themselves, and how it rarely bares any relation to how others see them. It's baffling that most people don't really know what they look like. I wanted to democratise and demysticise studio photography for others, and if every photo is flawed facet, why not show one a bit different? One a bit freer. A bit other. Meanwhile from every shoot I learn more about photography and self-image, the subject and myself.

With this in mind I recently began two similar photo-projects, firstly a collaborative crusade to learn from, signal-boost and celebrate some of the local queer icons out there writing their own rulebooks. Secondly an attempt to challenge some of the humdrum masculine ideals found in queer media, an escapist counterpoint to glossy magazines or grungy zines.

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