• James Clive Richards


Updated: Jun 23, 2020

On the 11th March 2019, I travelled to Greater Manchester, UK to complete two shoots back-to-back with two separate sitters. We'd been in contact for months as all three of us had been trying to co-ordinate our schedules so we were all free on the same day. This was so I could shoot both sitters in a single day instead of making multiple trips to Manchester, UK.

Made easier as Samuel and Anthony are close friends who had previously lived together and arranged a day for the photoshoot among themselves that would mutually and practically work for all parties involved. First approached Anthony regarding my homosexual portraits project back in 2018. At the time he seemed up for shooting and said he strongly identified with the project. Especially the notion that we assume to know people we've never met simply from viewing and following them online. However, for many months communication went dead.

@alvschiavo by James Richards©, 2019.

Anthony would later explain the reason for his silence regarding my requests to shoot. Stating it was because he knew I aim to photograph the sitters as authentically as possible. Explaining that at the time the idea of handing over authorship, control of his image and being photographed so raw and unguarded frightened him at the time. Stating he simply wasn't ready at that time. However, I contacted him a final time and stated that if we didn't shoot the week of the 11th March 2019, then he wouldn't be in the end product. He agreed and with reassurance, placed his trust and confidence in me to represent him with both care and respect.

"Most people get anxious because they haven't posted online for a while. I'm the opposite!! I get anxious when I post because I know the attention it will bring and my DM's will fill up. The leather Daddy image is a part of me I get to explore online visually but to me it's just dress-up. Like a performance or a form of Drag. I wear the clothes because I like them, they're a form of expression for me". - Anthony, personal conversation, March 11th, 2019.
@alvschiavo Polaroid by James Richards©, 2019.

Anthony was funny, kind, caring and is the type of person that would do absolutely anything for anyone!! One of the kindest most welcoming people I've ever had the pleasure to not only photograph but meet. We instantly got on and through conversation during the shoot got a greater understanding of each others view points towards modern queer culture online. Feeling comfortable enough with each other while shooting to speak candidly and discussed our insecurities. It was a cathartic experience as we both got something from our afternoon together. We shared our experiences, Anthony listened and offered his council and vice versa.

Each photoshoot has been completely different to the last, just like each sitter is different. We're all part of the same LGBTQ+ community and in many ways and circumstances we're all very similar, but at the same time we're all drastically different and each sitter has a differing view on the topic of social media and judgement within the homosexual community. From undertaking the project I've learnt more from setting aside real time and forming real-life friendships with the sitters. This is how we crafted trust and mutual respect as whatever was disclosed during our session would remain confidential. But it works the opposite way around for me as well I knew I could trust them. This is what we need more of in the digital era of social media-

Face-to-face human interaction, living our lives in the real world. Not viewing someone else's through a screen.

@alvschiavo Polaroid by James Richards©, 2019.

Models Instagram - @alvschiavo

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