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Using Photography to Turn Women into Kitsch Icons

Photographer Jason Altaan has received death threats over his work, but he maintains that he is celebrating femininity in all its camp glory.
November 27, 2015, 2:55pm
All photos by Jason Altaan

Gay photographer Jason Altaan has photographed everyone from Courtney Stodden to Angelyne. In his photos, he places controversial women in front of colorful backgrounds that make them look cartoonish, while celebrating them like icons in old Italian paintings. He captures their camp appeal but also takes them seriously.

The photos have gotten Altaan in trouble. "I've even had some dude send me death threats recently because of how much he hated my work and how it made him feel," he says. "To me everything I do is fun and innocent, and plays off of the cartoonish roles society has created and the people it has decided to marginalize, particularly in the media."


Altaan sent us these portraits of his friends in San Diego, British reality TV star Alicia Douvall, and the female bodybuilder Lauren Powers. "I get a lot of inspiration from people who have altered or enhanced their appearance to personify ideals of the gender binary and have taken it to extreme measures," he explains. "People like Angelyne who has turned herself into a walking caricature of femininity, and conversely someone like Hulk Hogan whose brute ferocity and aggression have deemed him an American hero." Here are his photos of wrestlers, blondes, and starry blue lights.