With befores and afters combining to form something new, photographer Leland Bobbé's latest project is like a makeup makeover show idling at "during"—factor in drag queens as the subjects and the halved transformations become all the more striking.
"Half-Drag" throws the drama of drag in sharp relief on one face with queens sporting their alter egos in full hair (and even fuller makeup) on the left side and sporting an au naturel look all on the right.
After capturing neo-burlesque performers in a series of fantastical portraits that were so aptly on exhibit at NYC’s Museum of Sex, Bobbé says he stumbled upon a photo of Dr. Flux, one of the male acts, on Facebook dressed half as a man and half as a woman. A photoshoot with Dr. Flux planted the initial seed of inspiration, but it wasn’t until an industry party with drag queens moonlighting as servers did "Half-Drag" come into full scope. Upon meeting Sabel Scities, Bobbé finally had all the pieces to his fierce puzzle: "I got in touch with Sabel, explained my idea, and asked if he/she would be my first guinea pig," he says. "I was so happy with the results that I decided to pursue this as a project."
And so "Half-Drag" was born with a cadre of queens giving nothing but face, makeup or no (the images are composed in camera and are not two separate images joined together, with each transformation taking about two hours). "I thought by shooting really tight portraits it would enable me to accentuate the differences in the male female sides" says Bobbé. How right you were.