PHOTOS: The Drag Queens and Covered Bridges of New Hampshire
January, Cherry Lyquor, Prentiss Bridge, Langdon, N.H.
A simple photo calendar juxtaposing two things that are breathtaking in their separate ways — New England's covered bridges and drag queens — creates wonder for some and horror for others.
Photographer Andre Rosa talks with surprise about encountering bridge owners who shooed them away due to "homophobia and bigotry that changed the original intent of this project." But in the end, he says, "I’ve discovered the culture of New Hampshire. It’s two things: covered bridges and drag queens."
While it would have been great to show you the wonderful images from this calendar in, say, late December, sometimes the Internet does not yield its treasures on a strict schedule. It is only April, and you could certainly afford to dress up the rest of the days with Rosa's thoughtfuly sweet and odd calendar.
Here's how it came together, in his own words:
"I had a great time making these photos, and I’m very proud of them. But I had to face homophobia and bigotry that changed the original intent of this project. So much so, it will even be present in the very cover of this calendar. The cover will be Miss September, and, ironically, that photograph was shot not in New Hampshire, but at Fisher Bridge in Wolcott, Vermont. The owners of the only bridge with a railroad in New Hampshire, Clark’s Trading Post Bridge, the one I wanted to use, changed their minds on allowing me to shoot on their property, when I told them the model would be a drag queen. When another owner, owner of the Barlett Bridge, denied me permission because his bridge was a “wholesome place,” I drove away weeping; I didn’t know those two words could strike so hard. I wasn’t expecting these kind of reactions when I first started. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect.
"But not all has been like this. Up in Conway, a father and his daughter interrupted my shoot with Laila McQueen. The little girl was absolutely convinced it was a photoshoot with Lady Gaga! I had to disappoint her and let her know Laila McQueen was not in fact Lady Gaga. What a compliment, though! The family seemed enamored with us. It made my day, especially when the day before, my spirits were so low, almost broken.
"This is all OK, though. This isn’t supposed to be politically correct, neatly packaged, with impolite details swept under the rug, all imperfections soft-brushed away. This is a snapshot of where we are at, in this present moment. This is my love letter to New Hampshire. This is about its culture — its beauty marks and its warts."
See the calendar on the following pages.
February, Nicohl D Lafontaine & Britney Lynn, Cilleyville Bridge, Andover, N.H.
March, Ivy League, Squam River Bridge, Ashland, N.H.
April, Lady Sabrina, Wright’s Bridge, Newport, N.H.
May, Miss Toni, Waterloo Bridge, Warner, N.H.
June, Porcia J. Chanel, Riverwalk Bridge, Littleton, N.H.
July, Violencia Exclamation Point, Wentworth Golf Course Bridge, Jackson, N.H.
August, Laila McQueen, Swift River Bridge, Conway, N.H.*
*The owners of Bartlett Bridge, Bartlett, N.H., refused to be a part of this series due to its content.
September, Amber Alyrt, Fisher Bridge, Wolcott, Vt.*
*The owners of Clark’s Trading Post Bridge, Lincoln, N.H., refused to be a part of this series due to its content.
October, Lexus Dee, Flume Bridge, Lincoln, N.H.
November, Katrina George, Stark Bridge, Stark, N.H.
December, Countess Morticia Dracula, Greenfield-Hancock Bridge, Greenfield, N.H.