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Earlier this year, GAY TIMES teamed up with SKITTLES®, Getty Images and Queer Britain to find emerging queer photographers and help them break into the world of arts, media or advertising. 

The lack of opportunities and the cost of camera equipment has left many unable to afford the essentials required to develop their skills and follow a career as a photographer. This is no doubt one of the reasons we see so many issues with LGBTQ+ representation in media and advertising. 

What’s clear is that the photographs we often see depicting queer people don’t accurately represent the intersections and diverse spectrum of LGBTQ+ identities. That’s why, SKITTLES® is committed to helping millions of people to See The Rainbow by improving LGBTQ+ representation through photography. 

One of the winners, John Post, visited Kafe Kweer in Edinburgh to document a poetry night on 22 July. Here’s what he had to say about the experience: 

“Working with GAY TIMES on their exploration of Queer Joy has made me think more on what the words queer and joy mean. Queer is the non-ordinary, it is the unexpected, it is existing as something that is not the traditional or expected but is the unfamiliar, unknown, and often challenging. None of these are bad, they are just different. 

“Like queer, joy can be many things. It can be the shared celebrations, the street parties, and the freedom to shout out the pride you have. It can also be quiet. Joy can be small. It can be single moments of calm that make you feel content, happy, and loved. A partner’s touch, a friend’s smile, doing something that brings you happiness – like taking a picture, writing a poem, or spending time with people who make you feel that you are worth paying attention too.

“Photographing Kafe Kweer for GAY TIMES and SKITTLES, where poets came together and shared moments of love, rage, pride, and self-acceptance was an act of queer joy. It was peaceful, it was moving, it was funny, and it felt like something real. The words were often difficult, and they described shared experiences that make queer life tough, but without these experiences would we be who we are, standing proud in all our gloriously queer armour? 

“We come through these experiences, and we turn the negative into something positive. That is what being queer allows us to do, it is our superpower. We can recognise our own joy and are unashamed to share it with each other and beyond.  Like their poems, I wanted these pictures to be real. These are real people owning their own versions of joy and my aim was to make this come through the work, which is my queer joy.”

Keep an eye out for more Queer Joy events from other Bursary photographers in the coming months.