We/Us is the UK’s first visual art project celebrating the undocumented presence of Butches and Studs from working class backgrounds. Using film photography as a medium, Roman Manfredi explores intergenerational female masculinity through the structures of class and race within the British landscape.
This project doesn’t come from a place of theory, but rather from a place of everyday lived experience, moving away from the ‘I’ of identity politics and into a collective ‘We’ as a practice of involvement. It comes from a place of deep love and pride for my community, expressed through the viewfinder of my Hasselblad 500cm. Shooting on film as opposed to digital is an important part of the project. It’s a different way of taking up space, a physical, visceral space. I wanted to make images that were carefully made and considered, yet still allowing room for ‘failure’, countering the rules of gender conformity that we so clearly defy. We are often under the spotlight to hyper-define ourselves. Analogue is a way of rejecting the pressure put on gender non-conforming women and people to constantly define themselves. These images are a celebration. We stand before you inviting you to look back, to stand with us. This project doesn’t come from a place of theory, but rather a sense of everyday lived experience.