In 2005, photographer Tom Atwood (photo at top) published the art photography book, Kings in Their Castles, an intimate look at notable gay icons in their private spaces. Now, more than a decade later, Atwood is poised to release a bigger, more ambitious follow-up entitled, Kings & Queens in Their Castles, that hits bookshelves on April 25. The new volume includes more than 160 subjects - including Meredith Baxter, Alan Cumming, Don Lemon, John Waters, George Takei, Michael Urie, Greg Louganis, Kate Clinton, Dan Savage, Tommy Tune, John Berendt, Bruce Vilanch - and required him to travel across the United States to meet them.
1. Where did you go on your last trip?
"My lovely home state of Vermont!"
2. What was your favorite memory from it?
"Stumbling across wild blackberries on the side of a small mountain. (Yum.) As well as running around rolling green fields with cows and goats."
3. How many places did you visit for the book?
"I traveled to hundreds of LGBTQ people’s abodes across the U.S. in 30 different states, from California to Maine to Florida to Washington State."
4. What was most surprising about your travels for the book?
"I was delighted to discover vibrant LGBTQ communities in many small towns and rural locations, including in otherwise culturally conservative states. I met thriving networks of LGBTQ folks in rural Utah, Texas, and Tennessee, for instance."
Above: Fun Home author, Alison Bechdel, and her partner, Holly Rae Taylor. The book's cover shown at the bottom of the page. Photos by Tom Atwood.
5. Most photogenic place you've visited?
"Florence, Italy. I love cities with hills, and the architecture in this gem of a city is beautiful beyond description."
6. King or Queen whose kingdom (or queendom) you'd gladly join?
"John Waters. His Baltimore home was a beautiful, classic Colonial house, but with hundreds of hidden surprises to discover inside. Such as an execution chair, props from old movies, and an art installation depicting a terrorist’s workstation with plastic bags filled with white powder."
7. What three things do you always pack when traveling?
"Food (I am vegan and gluten free), a blender for morning protein shakes of course, and my camera."
8. Place you can't visit enough?
"Amsterdam. The Dutch are so wonderful, and with few cars, it has a serene, peaceful feeling."
9. Favorite splurge when on the road?
"NO COW brand protein bars. Vegan, natural, with 20-plus grams of protein and almost no fat or sugar. Mint cocoa chip is the best, tastes like a Thin Mints Girl Scout cookie. Perfect for travel. No, I don’t own stock in the company."
10. Where will you go on your next adventure?
"Japan! Can’t wait to see the geometric gardens."
To view more images or to buy the book, visit TomAtwood.com.