The Queers of Kamloops photography series and the creator behind it | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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The Queers of Kamloops photography series and the creator behind it

Jess Beaudin is the photographer and organizer of the Queers of Kamloops photo project.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Jess Beaudin
May 12, 2021 - 6:30 AM

Jess Beaudin began taking photos in April, 2020 to help her cope with eating disorder recovery. She had struggled with anorexia and bulimia for over six years before starting on the road to health.

For Jess, photography was a key to her healing, a key she is now sharing with others through a unique photography series called Queers of Kamloops.

“In the beginning, they were almost all self-portraits,” she said of her first photographs. “I used photography to express what I was feeling and to normalize what my body looked like. Photographing myself at different angles, in different settings has helped me adjust to the way I look so much. Before last year, I never allowed anyone to take photos of me. There are certain years of life that I don’t have a single photo of myself because I couldn’t stand the way I looked.”

Megan Mckinlay is inspired by vintage and 'cottage core' fashion. She loves thrifting, mushrooms and her cat.
Megan Mckinlay is inspired by vintage and 'cottage core' fashion. She loves thrifting, mushrooms and her cat.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Jess Beaudin

Jess has been recovering from her eating disorder for almost a year. She is a member of the LGBTQ community, where she sees high rates of the disorder and wants to help.

“I want to represent and normalize different expressions of beauty, fashion and gender, the same way I normalize my appearance for myself through photography,” she said. “The rate of eating disorders in queer folks is disproportionately higher than in cis-het people, as many queer people use eating disorders as a way of looking more like their preferred gender or to cope with discrimination and trauma that can come with being queer. I want to make people feel good about themselves when they see these photos.”

Jess started the ‘Queers of Kamloops’ series in January with a goal to photograph a minimum of twenty queer models this year. She gets her models from a local modelling page on Facebook or uses her friends in the LGBTQ community. She is hoping to capture as many people as she can and is actively seeking more models for her series.

“Right now it’s a pretty small project with me organizing everything, but I’m hoping to partner with a few Kamloops businesses and organizations in June for pride month. We have better photography weather so I can get the project going faster now,” she said. “So far I’ve had a lot of positive response. I feel like the younger generation is so much more accepting of queerness than the culture I grew up in, which is amazing.”

Jess has lived in Kamloops for four years now. She moved here to go to TRU where she completed a BA in English with a minor in History last spring. She lives by a mantra she made up in her first year of university.

“My mantra is, ‘This is how I build a home. I am home.’ It means that everything I do creates who I am. When school and work was hard, or I was overcoming personal struggles, this reminded me of the pay off and who I would be by the time I came out on the other side. The second half of this quote reminds me that I am already enough, and a whole.”

You can follow Jess’ Queers of Kamloops series on Instagram @JessBeaudinPhoto.

Bri Van Eeden loves anime and painting. They take style inspiration from feminine and masculine trends.
Bri Van Eeden loves anime and painting. They take style inspiration from feminine and masculine trends.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Jess Beaudin

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Jess Beaudin

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