Battlefields is François-Marie Banier’s celebration of gay culture at its most flamboyant and proud.
Comprised of photos taken at Gay Prides in Brussels, London, New York, Paris and Rome between 1994 and 2018, Banier captures the full glamorous spectrum of those parading, all the feathers, sequins and leather; but, more importantly, also the characters beneath the make-up and wigs—“I photograph the poetry, the humor, the confrontation with blinkered convention.”
Having lost close friends to AIDS, he remembers the tragedy of “this elusive, diabolical virus,” but also the compassion of those who nursed and supported its victims: “More than angels. Such delicate devotion, full of invention. Loyalty, so touching, overwhelming.” For Banier, light inevitably conquers darkness: “I follow and paint as usual with my camera, almost always in black and white. The wild ones, the choir boys, those crowned with Valda throat drops, the notaries in their fancy dress, the babes of Gala and Salvador Dalí—storytellers from every country, a whole world that knows how to laugh and to pray.”