About the Book
Speaking OUT: Queer Youth in Focus is a photographic essay that collectively explores a wide spectrum of experiences told from the perspective of a diverse group of youth ages 14 to 24 identifying as queer (i.e., lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning). Portraits are presented without judgment and/or stereotype by eliminating environmental influence with a stark white backdrop.
This backdrop acts as a blank canvas to be filled with each subject's point of view handwritten onto the final chromogenic print. With more than 70 portraits photographed over a period of ten years, Speaking OUT provides a rare insight into the ever evolving passions, confusions, prejudices, fulfillment, joys, and sorrows voiced by queer youth.
The collection of voices captured by this book strives to raise awareness by reinforcing there is strength in numbers, power in words and freedom in art.
Shot against a stark white background, Smith’s photographs allow her subjects to appear naturally and reveal raw emotions, without environmental influence or outside suggestion. The pictures themselves are only half of each piece. Only after the subject has written his or her personal story in the white space of his or her portrait does the completed work take shape. Rachelle Lee Smith is an award winning, nationally and internationally shown and published photographer. With a BFA in photography, Rachelle has spent the majority of her photographic career taking photographs not simply as a photographer, but also an activist. Although her subject matter varies, her innate vision to capture the life and energy of a scene takes precedence in every image.