As part of our ongoing local queer artist residency at Dalston Superstore Gallery, this Thursday sees the launch our next exhibition 'Living Vivid' by Dan Govan!
Dan Govan is an Edinburgh born, camera-carrying, usually-anxious, glamour-adjacent wallflower, for whom photography was a hobby that's grown wildly out of control. He started with snapshots of nights out
in 2008, but as he moved to east London in 2011 he was naturally was dabbling in club photography by 2012. A couple of years ago he started dabbling in portraiture. Self portraits at first, exploring vulnerability and colour, muting masculinity in vivid disorienting colours. His latest project 'Queernift' documents the eccentric faces of the East London LGBTQ+ Nightlife Scene.
We caught up with Dan to chat about where Queernift started, some standout experiences of photographing Drag Queens and whats next for Queernift!
Hello Dan! Can you let your readers know a little bit about your background?
Hi! I'm a sorta-Scottish, nerdy wallflower who's been floating around gay clubs, pubs and shows in London since 2008. Until last year I always had a camera with me but now I mostly do over-colourful studio portraiture.
I thought it was an exciting opportunity to collaborate with and signal boost some of the local queer artists promoting their work. It's been nice to be able to give back to this community that puts so much work into creating queer spaces, putting on so many shows and nights over the years.
Whether I'm shooting events, performances or portraiture, I try to capture situations rather than things. Reactions and relationships. People are always at the core of that. The real kick comes when I manage to show people looking better than they think they look. That's always a thrill.
East London's Drag Queens aren't known for being the most introverted of characters. So we'd imagine photographing would bring about some 'special' memories. Any stand out experiences photographing them ?
I think my favourite shoots have been when I do a couple of friends at once, taking turns in front of the camera the energy's always really great. I recently had a shoot with Delirium though who arrived when she said she would, packed 3 very different looks into just 2 poly bags, changed quickly, posed to the gods, and we were all done in an hour. I was amazed.
Who else in East London's LGBTQ+ Nightlife would you love to photograph?
Oh there's tons of people that I've wanted to shoot for a while but we've never quite got it together and I feel shy about badgering them. And a few more that I never got around to asking! Rhys Pieces, Margo Marshal, Ginger Johnson, Grace Shush, Maxi More... Dozens more probably. I used to have a list that I was working through but it made me super anxious so I had to ditch it.
Whats next for Queernift?