Michael Apolo Gomez uses environmental portraiture, alternative processes and mixed media to create photographic work that investigates desire and masculinity his queer perspective. He portrays men in their domestic spaces to create images where he examines the male gaze, the presence of the body, gestures and the space they surround themselves with. All these elements create a dialogue on intimacy, masculinity and social constructs of identity. He grew up in a small dairy community in the outskirts of Roswell, New Mexico. While at the University of New Mexico, Gomez developed Burkitt's lymphoma. After his fight with cancer he picked up photography, due to complications from his treatment has had to have his hips and shoulders replaced. These experiences propel his interests in the human body.
Gomez's work is informed by artists such as Philip-Lorca Dicorcia, Pierre et Gilles and David Hilliard from their use of lighting to treatment of photographic prints. His body of work is influenced by his own struggle with machismo identity, small town culture and his own acceptance of same-sex relationships. By creating these portraits he is inviting his viewer to investigate these men, from the way they look into the camera, the position of their bodies, their gestures and the objects that they surround them with.
Men I Know (2016-Present)
Men I Know is an environmental portraiture series in which I explore my relationship with men in my life, friends, lovers and acquaintances. I focus on the male gaze, the male figure, masculinity as well as the domestic space they inhabit. I grew up in a small dairy community, throughout my adolescence I can remember having a hard time developing friendships with other boys. I didn’t fit in with boy culture and later on had a hard time adapting to machismo culture. The idea of pride in masculinity was something I’d never experienced, instead I developed an awareness of my own queerness early on. There was always a disassociation with other members of the same-sex, my body and my own masculinity. I am placing men in their homes, places of intimacy and importance. I am photographing the way they look into the camera, the position of their bodies, the way they arrange their spaces. By capturing them in these moments I hope to further explore the disconnection that I have in relation to my understanding of what it means to be a man from my Queer perspective.