Artist's Statement

Frank Mullaney

The “Saints” project was originally inspired by the holy prayer cards I collected during my Catholic youth. As an altar boy, I used them to pray against the dawning awareness of my homosexuality. Yet the sight of all the flesh and the homoeroticism of many of the religious images only exacerbated my confusion, causing me to careen from shame to lust and back again. I have worked to reject the self-shaming associations I had with these religious images while simultaneously acknowledging their erotic charge. With this series, I am photographing only gay and trans men and women, each seemingly lost in a moment of transcendence, possibly one of a spiritual nature, possibly one of self-acceptance. Perhaps it’s just a memory. Each person is photographed in front of a unique background and by having the model avoid addressing the lens directly, it allows the viewer a passage into the portrait, without confrontation, and become, I have been told, a meditative moment unto itself.