Photographer of the Week #161: Bryson Rand

Bryson Rand was born in Phoenix, AZ in 1982 to the son of an Air Force pilot. He spent his childhood living around the world on Air Force bases and began taking photos when he was fifteen. He received a BFA from University of Colorado, a Master’s in Art Education from School of Visual Arts, and an MFA from Yale School of Art. His work has been included in numerous group shows in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and New Haven and has been featured in several publications including Matte Magazine, Vice, and Palimpsest.

In his series BRAVO DELTA ROMEO, Rand exposes intimate and sexual moments between male bodies juxtaposed with still lives of dense plant ecosystems. By complementing human subjects with the natural world in this series, Rand highlights the similarities between the two: how limbs and bodies, just like weeds, leaves and brambles intertwine, overlap, curve into and towards each other, stand erect, become one and grow separate.  The images capture moments unpretentiously and casually – the calm moments before, in the middle, and after the storm. Rand does not glamorize these moments, male bodies are photographed in the comfort of their homes. In the background: shag carpets, velvet blankets, house plants, and paisley couches, while the plants are photographed within thick weeds and pressed against chain linked fences with their tattered leaves in sharp focus. The moments Rand captures are real yet fleeting.

“BRAVO DELTA ROMEO represents my journey to better understand how our individual and shared pasts affect the ways we relate to one another today. Through the devastation of the AIDS crisis and continuing bigotry and threats to queer people, our community has found ways to come together to support, protect, and love one another while fighting back against systematic injustices. I hope to bring visibility to the rich and complicated existence of gay men, acknowledging our past struggles while keeping on eye on the potential our futures hold.”

In our current political climate, with potentially devastating threats to LGBTQ rights and livelihood, it is now more than ever that we must celebrate and defend gay love, which Bryson Rand’s photographs assert beautifully.

For more of Bryson’s work, check out his website: