Photographed by Ben Bibriesca
Styled and Modeled by Daniel Carela
Makeup by Jesse Genao
Ben Bibriesca’s photographs are raw, subversive, and honest. “It is important for people to see that there are different ways in which queer people express themselves and their ambitions. We are not all the same.” The young photographer successfully expands on and explores the nuances of queer identity and narratives through his work.
How do you identify?
Gay, Male, Chicano.
How would you describe the style / aesthetic of your work?
My work is influenced by my identity, there are often hints or themes of homosexuality intertwined within my work. My casting is also beginning to project the representation that I wish I saw growing up - mainly people of color but also gender fluid identities and the subversion of gender roles.
What are your goals when you shoot a photograph or self-portrait?
Having fun! My main objective is for my team to enjoy themselves and really get excited about what we are creating. Everything else comes second.
What makes you proud to be who you are?
Living in NYC makes me proud of who I am. I have never lived anywhere where I feel as free to be open and express myself as I do in New York. I’m proud to live in a city where I can surround myself by open-minded, stimulating people.
How do you use photography as a tool to explore or express your identity, and the identities of your subjects?
Often my subjects are a projection of who I think I am or want to be. I like casting people through social media, and photography gives me an opportunity to meet people that I may otherwise have not.
Why is queer representation important to you?
Queer representation is important to me because it helps normalize our experiences and gives us exposure where we have none. It is important for people to see that there are different ways in which queer people express themselves and their ambitions. We are not all the same.
How has your work changed over time? How have you evolved—as an artist, and as a person?
I am a little more aware of what my intentions with my work are. It has also helped me be less socially awkward; I have an easier time approaching people and building meaningful connections with my subjects than when I first started. There were a lot of missed opportunities I wish I would have taken. I have also developed stylistically by trying different things out. Playing with what works and what doesn’t for me. I’ve come to realize that I cannot escape nudity and color within my work.
In the making of DRØME we hope to showcase a community of doers and nourish an attitude of empathy in a world that teaches us to pass judgment rather than practice kindness. The stories, images, and people shared in this magazine are an amalgamation of perspectives often overlooked or explicitly excluded from art and media worlds. The dearth of diverse identities and viewpoints within the arts is harrowing, especially for a young generation that is fighting its hardest to overcome conservative notions of order ultimately practiced as acts of discrimination against the very people and things we find most inspiring. In DRØME, the featured creators and creations encourage us to never shy away from who we are and what we want. Each artist, in sharing their story, embodies their own definition of agency. Against a mainstream ideology that indoctrinates patriarchal, capitalist, and hateful theories turned into policy, the artists in our first issue represent the ways in which art can take power back from society's denigrating control.