Reconstructing Queer Intimacy

by Jesse van den Berg


I grew up as a very prudish child. This was noticeable through the fact that I always showered with my swimming trunks on when I was younger. This started a very alienated relationship with the naked body and me. As I got older, I slowly realized that I identified with the label queer. Growing up in an environment where there was barely any representation of queer intimacy around me was confronting. The whole society is based on a heteronormative way of thinking. When queer people got represented it was often in stereotypical and problematic ways. Queerness is not there to entertain the straight gaze. This lack of queer intimacy where I could identify with caused a second moment of feeling alienated. 

The label ‘queer’ gives my models and me the most freedom. It does not assume that gender and sexuality are binary or fixed. Through my experiences I gained a certain fascination on the topics of intimacy, sexuality, the naked body and how they relate to my being. It created a specific way of looking at the human body in an intimate context. With lens-based media I research my definition of queerness and intimacy and explore how intimacy can be present in the process of making. While carefully exploring the power dynamics that evolve around the lens. 

My project demands that queerness is part of the normative discussion around intimacy and it broadens the representation of queer and trans* bodies. ‘Reconstructing Queer Intimacy’ is a visual experience of intimacy between the audience, the models and the maker. Through the queer lens I hope my work can give a sense of empowerment to every single person because everyone has the right to love themselves. 

Photographer: Jesse van den Berg @jessenijmegen 
Models: Joel, Daan, Cheraldo, Bappie, Erdem, Laurens, Menko, D’andre

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