Haley Drolet

Phd Student

Beau (2023) from ‘The Facts About’ series

A study of queer identity in late twentieth century British photography, specifically regarding representation of HIV and AIDS and ‘lesbian’ sex.

With my research I seek to understand how and why women photographers changed lesbian representation during the height of the AIDS epidemic in Britain. This was a critical period for LGBTQ+ visibility and contributions made by women-identified artists during this period have been overlooked. I am interested to understand how they saw themselves, how society at the time viewed them, and how photography functioned as a tool for self determination and political resistance.

Visual media have had an enormous impact on our perception of HIV and AIDS, and of lesbian sex and sexuality in general. In the early days of the virus, and even now, artists are activists and images not only convey political meaning, they create it.

Within my own photography practice I explore themes of sexual health today – especially the alienation experienced by queer women and nonbinary folk within medicine.

This research has been made possible with the assistance of the University for the Creative Arts Vice Chancellor PhD Studentship in Photography.

Haley Drolet’s research is supervised by Dr Sunil Gupta, (Professorial Fellow of Photography, UCA Farnham) and Professor Anna Fox (Professor of Photography, UCA Farnham).