An unconventional series exploring the theme of (queer) desire by projecting new interpretations on snapshots of the past. It was selected as a finalist in the LensCulture Exposure Awards 2015. Discover the work of all 31 of the winners and finalists.

Relationships, real or imagined, are at the center of this work. Growing up queer, I searched for a history that spoke to me, that included me. In my family history, there were no couples that mirrored my own intimate relationships. That didn’t keep me from imagining such couples though.

“Through the Lens of Desire” creates implied narratives using snapshots from the 1920s-1950s.

Vernacular photographs from that era were created as private keepsakes. Their unself-conscious intimacy feels authentic and relatable. As modern viewers, we witness personal moments that were never intended to be public.

By purposefully selecting images that picture men together and women together, I am creating an imaginary queer past. I am drawn to the subtle points of contact and the spaces between the figures pictured. Each gesture or distracted glance holds a story, and it is these stories that reflect my own desire and experiences.

This project brings a contemporary re-reading to old photographs that address sexuality and relationships in a subtle way. My images are works of fiction, where I project my own dreams onto moments from the past.

—Kris Sanford


Exhibition of all the LensCulture Exposure Awards Winners and Finalists: Photo London 2016, Somerset House, May 19-22

Kris Sanford’s work will be shown as part of the LensCulture exhibition at Photo London 2016, London’s premier photography fair! We hope to see you there!