December 5, 2019 at 7:19 pm PST | by John Paul King
Leading LGBTQ photo competition calls for submissions

One of the works to be featured in ‘Round Hole Square Peg 4″ (Photo by Josef Jasso)

Calling all photographers! Here’s your chance to enter your work in a juried photography exhibition and competition conceived to discover a new LGBTQ visual culture for the 21st century.

Slated to debut in Los Angeles at the end of January, “Round Hole Square Peg 4” is the fourth installment of a biennial queer photography exhibition that is the only queer presentation at any major art fair. It will open at Photo LA – California’s longest running international photographic art fair, where it made its first appearance in 2013 – from January 30-February 2, 2020. From there, through the support of the City of West Hollywood, it will move to the city’s gallery for a four-week run.

This year’s edition will place special focus on photography exploring themes of transgender awareness, people of color and underrepresented minorities. It will be curated by Director Phil Tarley, who is a fellow of the American Film Institute, a member of the Photographic Arts Council, and writes a critical photography blog or Fabrik Magazine.

One of the works to be featured in ‘Round Hole Square Peg 4″ (Photo by Austin Young)

According to the press release:

“As Stonewall 50 passes, LGBTQ persecution intensifies in Trump’s America.  Art exhibitions enable LGBTQ photographers to voice their activism, proclaim their visibility and create a new wave of queer art and soul.  Having a strong presence in front of a large audience helps the LGBTQ community defy and resist negative stereotypes.”

Tarley says, “The world is changing for LGBTQ people. In 2019, dark Trumpian clouds are forming and threatening to roll back hard-won civil rights. The religious right is ramping up its homophobic and transphobic attacks. By showing positive, sincere images that reflect our true queer lives, we can stay visible in a world that wants us to disappear,” Tarley, .

Participating artist Stuart Sandford comments that his work is innately queer.  “The queerness of my work, other than simply being produced by a self-identifying gay man, comes from the intention to question the prevailing norm,” he says. “The taboo, the (gay) male gaze on the (gay) male body in an unbridled manner, something once lost and now reclaimed. But will this, or any art, help save us in 2020? No, of course not, the artist’s role is to ask questions and provoke debate.”

RHSP Competition Judge Paul Bridgewater adds, “Queer identity is not simply a sexual one. Queer artists have a perspective and an experience to contribute to society that is wholly our own and it’s a rich and worldly one. Having been marginalized and alienated for so long has helped us develop a unique view of self-worth, self-image, spirituality, and companionship. We can look at the world and mirror it back to the human condition with insight, style, glamour, and fun.”

One of the works to be featured in ‘Round Hole Square Peg 4″ (Photo by Slava Mogutin and Brian Kenny)

Curated by director Phil Tarley and associate curator Ruben Esparza, “Round Hole Square Peg 4” will be judged by a panel of five prominent jurors and the director of Photo LA.

Photographers are invited to enter the competition now through the“Round Hole Square Peg 4” website.

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