This photographer made waves for his underwater pics of guys, now he’s released a book

A photograph of a man underwater

Canadian photographer Lucas Murnaghan doesn’t mind the smell of chlorine at this point.

For the past two years, he’s taken photographs of rather muscular men in incredible underwater environments.

Blue-tiled swimming pools and Calvin Klein y-fronts aren’t a bad way to get an Instagram following, let alone a book and exhibition deal.

Beneath the Surface: An Underwater Photographic Exploration is the name of Lucas’ solo-exhibition and book.

Launched this week, the free exhibit will run from 21 February until 2 March 2019 at Surf the Greats in Toronto.

From Instagram to an exhibit

Talking to Gay Star News, Lucas admitted the double-launch is ‘a bit overwhelming.’

‘My underwater exploration has gone on for a couple years now. It started back in 2017 on Instagram.’

Lucas’ shots made waves on the photo-sharing app which regularly gain tens of thousands of likes.

‘But at the same time, as wonderful a platform it was, it wasn’t how I wanted my images to be seen.

The front cover of 'Beneath the Surface'

The accompanying exhibition book is the culmination of two years of underwater exploration | Photo: Lucas Murnaghan

‘On a little mobile device while someone is on the subway as opposed to in a larger, concrete format.

‘As a child of the 70s and 80s, I’m used to photos being seen in books, album covers or hung on walls.

‘Having a physical version of my photos is what I wanted.’

Water as a ‘transformative medium’

With nearly 100 pages, the book includes a foreword by Alan Cumming, preface by Lucas, personal responses by collaborators and 70 curated images. 

Yet, whether digitally or physically seen, Lucas stressed there’s more to the photographs than abs and biceps.

A photograph of a man poking his body and head around a corner

‘Around the bend’ | Photo: Lucas Murnaghan

He said: ‘I hope people will appreciate the underlying meaning behind the photos.

‘There’s space for the casual observer to assume the photos are just boy images of hot guys under water.

‘But I’m really trying to use water as a transformative medium to access deeper-seated notions or childhood memories that we carry into adulthood.

‘Perhaps by expressing our underlying baggage through artist mediums, we can better understand ourselves.’

How it all started

For the exhibition, he and his partner Antonio Lennert will transform their co-owned surf shop, Surf the Greats, into an immersive gallery experience. 

This will help viewers dive deep into Lucas’ images, all 70 of them.

But photography started as a hobby for Lucas, whose full-time job is a surgeon at a hospital in Toronto.

Surf photography was the diving board; around December 2016 Lucas began to experiment with underwater photography while shooting a swim team.

‘Documenting people swimming, while interesting, was not emotionally evocative.

‘It wasn’t until I photographed the swimmers standing at the bottom of the pool essentially doing nothing that I realized I tapped into something.

‘The casual improbability of doing regular things in an underwater environment, now that was evocative.’

From Hawaii to Tennessee

A photograph of a man underwater, sitting on a wreckage

Lucas Murnaghan has turned what was once a hobby into a book and exhibition | Photo: Lucas Murnaghan

What have been Lucas’ favorite places to shoot? Bruce Peninsula, Ontario (‘it’s an underwater theatre’) was one.

Regular swimming pools (‘it’s a second subject in the photo’), too, alongside Hawaii and California.

But a high school pool in Memphis, Tennessee was top.

‘There was something particular about that pool that I wanted to capture,’ he said.

A photo of a naked man standing solitary in a public swimming pool

‘One is the loneliest number’ | Photo: Lucas Murnaghan

Titled ‘One is the loneliest number’ (above) the model was set to be a professional swimmer who pulled out at the last minute.

‘I was in a city I didn’t live in trying to find a model willing to hop in a pool in a pair of briefs the next morning!’

The ‘willing volunteer’, who Lucas found on social media, ‘even managed to remove his briefs’ for the shoot.

Mexico and the Maldives are next on the location list, as are the cold waters of Iceland.

You can check out more images on his Instagram.

Photo: Lucas Murnaghan

Author: Josh Milton

The post This photographer made waves for his underwater pics of guys, now he’s released a book appeared first on Gay Star News.

Russian Doll’s Rebecca Henderson on that crazy night she’d like to relive

Rebecca Henderson is Lizzie in Russian Doll.

Lesbian actress Rebecca Henderson plays best friend in overalls Lizzie in new Netflix hit series Russian Doll.

Created by Henderson’s wife Leslye Headland, together with Amy Poehler and Orange Is The New Black star Natasha Lyonne, Russian Doll is what you would get if cult movie Groundhog Day went to therapy. And more.

Tough, cynical and sweary protagonist Nadia (Lyonne) is forced to relive her 36th birthday all over again.

Natasha Lyonne as Nadia.

Natasha Lyonne as Nadia. | Photo: Netflix

As she dies repeatedly only to wake up each time at the lavish, quirky party her two best friends have thrown for her, she tries to figure out what is wrong with the universe. In order to break the cycle, she will need to process a long-buried childhood trauma.

Lizzie is a caretaker

Henderson plays Nadia’s sidekick and BFF Lizzie, a lesbian going through a life crisis and currently dating a 20-year-old.

‘Does she know what 9/11 is?’ asks Nadia.

‘Does anyone?’ replies Lizzie.

Short blonde hair, massive glasses, and dungarees, Lizzie strikes viewers as some sort of cartoonish character. But she’s also one to count on, always looking out for her friends.

‘Lizzie is a real caretaker of Nadia. This is something I do with my friendships in my life,’ Henderson tells GSN.

She explained that although some people might call it being codependent, she likes ‘to describe it as caretaking’.

‘I really related to that. I’ve known Natasha for several years and I do think this is a little bit our dynamic as Rebecca and Natasha.’

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Always trust a woman in overalls.

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The best friends trio is completed by Greta Lee, who portrays Maxine, host of the wonderful party and chicken connoisseur.

The chemistry among the three is so palpable that the audience is left wondering how much of the dialogue is improvised.

‘I was very respectful so I let Natasha lead the way,’ reveals Henderson.

‘We had very clear scenes where she was definitely improvising, that’s something she does very well.’

She furthermore adds: ‘Greta is also hilarious in improvising. I just watched something the other day when we were walking into the bodega for the first time and Greta said, “Oh, here, this is where I got the chicken,” which was definitely not in the script.’

Russian Doll vs. Groundhog Day

Rebecca Henderson and Greta Lee in a scene of Russian Doll.

This BFF duo throws the best birthday parties in NYC | Photo: Netflix

The actors were able to add to the script because, unlike Groundhog Day, the world in Russian Doll doesn’t stay the same but is decaying, slowly but steadily. Therefore change is key to find a way through.

This is what definitely the show is about, changing who you are, a little bit like Groundhog Day, but I think for Nadia is more about escaping the trauma loop of her childhood,’ Henderson says.

‘I haven’t seen Groundhog Day in a long time although I do love that movie but, from what I understand, the world around Bill Murray’s character is unchanged. He wakes up and the world is exactly the same. He just lives the day over again. And then this has actually more to do with different timelines. I’m different in every timeline, I don’t do or say the exact same thing.’

Henderson also adds:  ‘That’s what when I first watched the whole series through really spoke to me. This is about addiction, trauma and mothers and daughters and basically, breaking free of that.’

The relationship between Nadia and her late mother Lenora, played to disturbing perfection by Chloë Sevigny, is one the secrets viewers are left to unveil.

Working with amazing women, including her wife

Leslye Headland and Rebecca Henderson.

Leslye Headland (L) and Rebecca Henderson. | Photo: @rebitcha_hendersmean/

The show also stars Charlie Barnett, Yul Vazquez, Ritesh Rajan, and Waris Ahluwalia, but it strikes the audience as a powerful female-driven narrative.

‘With this show, what I noticed the most is when there was a man on set, we were kind of like “ah,”’ says Henderson.

‘Everyone was on board with having a great time and Natasha is so much fun, but I think that the men were kind of like “This is different, I’m playing the roles that the women usually play”. So watching that was really fun.’

Henderson also reveals that working with her wife Leslye was incredible. The two tied the knot in 2016.

‘I’ve definitely visited her on set before so I knew that she was focused and energetic,’ she says.

I’ve always found very sexy to see my person doing great at what they’re doing. That was true when I was working as well. We really understand each other, we get along really well. It was like having my favorite person at my job too.’

Henderson explains she has always worked with amazing women on set.

‘I tend to work a lot with female directors, I don’t know why I’ve been so lucky. I have worked with a lot of really powerful women, very driven women,’ the Canadian actress says.

She reveals: ‘I just did a film with Annabelle Attanasio, who is an actress and also now a filmmaker. She’s 26 years old, she’s incredible.’

Attanasio directed Mickey And The Bear starring Henderson among others. The movie will premiere at South by Southwest in March.

‘I also worked with Desiree Akhavan, so I feel like weirdly, I expect there to be women everywhere when I go to work and I’m kind of surprised when there’s a bunch of men, which definitely yields different energy.’

‘I have loved representing lesbians’

Henderson portrayed Maxine in Appropriate Behavior.

Henderson portrayed Maxine in Appropriate Behavior. | Photo: Peccadillo Pictures

In 2014, she played lesbian Maxine in Appropriate Behavior, Akhavan’s directorial debut, released four years before The Miseducation of Cameron Post.

‘Personally, I have loved representing lesbians,’ she laughs.

She also weighs in on the neverending debate about straight actors playing LGBTI roles and vice-versa.

‘Representation is very important. It was very important to me when I was young to see an actual lesbian on TV,’ she says.

‘Ellen DeGeneres was the first person I saw. She was the first for a lot of us and she had a huge impact on me.’

Henderson further explains that she understands the commercial reasons behind casting famous straight stars in gay and bi roles. However, an effort needs to be made, she says.

‘The most recent film is Can You Ever Forgive Me with Melissa McCarthy. I totally understand having Melissa McCarthy in a film like that, in a role like that,’ Henderson says.

‘It was also important to get the film seen and made because she has financial power. There’s a smaller lesbian role in that played by Dolly Wells and I was like, “Oh, there’s an opportunity where they could’ve cast a queer actress in that part’.

‘I love Dolly Wells, by the way, I think she’s fabulous, but I do think that making an effort whenever possible is important.’

Henderson on reliving the most important night of her life

Rebecca Henderson, Greta Lee and Charlie Barnett in an episode of Russian Doll.

Henderson, Greta Lee and Charlie Barnett in an episode. | Photo: Netflix

Back to Russian Doll, Henderson has no doubts on which moment of her life she would like to relive, just as Nadia does in the show.

What would be a great day to relive twenty times? Not my wedding day, that was stressful,’ she says.

‘A day that I would love to relive over and over again would be just a day that I come home and Leslye is here, we both relax and we cook a meal, and we snuggle up with the animals and watch a Netflix show, you know? But if I’m thinking of one of the most amazing moments of my life to relive over and over again, it will probably be when Leslye proposed.’

Headland had rented a room in a NY restaurant for Henderson’s birthday, gathering all of their friends. What Henderson thought was going to be a birthday dinner turned into the most special night of her life.

‘At the end of the meal she had a sunglass box on her lap. I thought she had bought me a pair of sunglasses that I wanted. And she started to give a little speech and I was like, “No, boo! No speeches!”

‘She was like, “No no no, I just wanna say I love you and you told everyone here that we were gonna be together before we were even together and I just wanna say that you were right and you will always be right”. And then she opened the sunglass box and inside was the ring box and I just blackout. I was completely speechless.

‘It’d be fun to look around and see what my friends are doing. I have some videos of the night, but I don’t remember it, it was so overwhelming. But I do remember hearing some of my friends screaming. I know I had one friend there who was going through a divorce. She was just sitting there with her arms crossed.’

Russian Doll season two

Might this be a possible plotline for Russian Doll season two? Netflix hasn’t confirmed a renewal yet, but the show’s huge success could help secure a deal over the next few weeks.

‘It’s been such an incredible response. It is, in some way, such a complete story. I do wonder what they would do for season two,’ Henderson says.

‘Would they continue on Nadia’s story or would they do a completely new story? Also, [would they be] following the rules of the universe in terms of time and space?’

Would she want to put Lizzie’s overalls back on?

‘Oh my god, I’d be thrilled to come back.’

Russian Doll is available to stream on Netflix.

See also:

Netflix may cancel One Day At A Time — this is why LGBTIs should be worried

Jamie Clayton spills Sense8 secrets: ‘That swim club scene really happened’

The Miseducation of Cameron Post director Desiree Akhavan wants conversion therapy banned universally

Author: Stefania Sarrubba

The post Russian Doll’s Rebecca Henderson on that crazy night she’d like to relive appeared first on Gay Star News.

The 11 bisexual people of color they didn’t teach you about in history class

Do bisexual icons just wear flowers in their hair is that their job | Photo: Wikimedia

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker: the first African-American to star in a major motion picture.

She was a dancer, an entertainer, and French resistance agent. While her career mostly took place in France, a costume consisting of only a girdle of artificial bananas became one of the most iconic images of the Jazz Age and 1920s.

Baker also refused to perform for segregated audiences in the United States. She was an unofficial leader in the Civil Rights Movement.

She married a man at 13, and divorced a short time later. Baker also married three other times. But despite her marriages, she also had several relationships with women.

Jean Michel Basquiat 

Jean Michel Basquiat is one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.

He dated Madonna, then unknown, back in 1982. And from there, he had relationships with many people in the art world.

According to Jennifer Clement, author of Widow Basquiat, the artist was ‘attracted to people for all different reasons’.

She said: ‘They could be boys, girls, thin, fat, pretty, ugly. It was, I think, driven by intelligence.’

He died of a heroin overdose at just 27 years old.

George Washington Carver

A restored photo of George Washington Carver from 1910 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Born a slave, George Washington Carver became one of the greatest scientists in history.

He was even nicknamed the ‘Black Leonardo’ by TIME magazine in 1941.

While doing this, he discovered 285 uses of the peanut (unfortunately not peanut butter, as the joke about him goes). He also developed 118 products derived from sweet potato, including shoe polish.

Carver never married. It was long rumored he had been castrated due to his high voice pitch.

At 40, he courted an elementary school teacher named Sarah Hunt. And at 70, he established a close relationship with a young black scientist Austin Curtis. When Carver died in 1943, he bequeathed his royalties to Curtis.

Leslie Cheung

Leslie Cheung, one of the ‘founding fathers of Cantopop’, was an A-lister.

A teen heartthrob and pop icon of Hong Kong in the 70s and 80s, he won numerous music awards.

He announced he was in a relationship with a man during a concert in 1997.

And in 2001, he clarified his sexuality.

‘It’s more appropriate to say I’m bisexual. I’ve had girlfriends. When I was 22 or so, I asked my girlfriend Teresa Mo  to marry me,’ he told Time magazine.

He added later: My mind is bisexual. It’s easy for me to love a woman. It’s also easy for me to love a man too.’

But his story has a sad end. He died by suicide in 2003 after suffering from depression.

Brenda Fassie

If Brenda Fassie was born in America, it’s likely she would’ve been a superstar.

But she was born outside Cape Town in the 1960s. Her career began when she recorded her band’s hit song Weekend Special.

Known as ‘Madonna of the Townships’ and the Queen of African Pop, Brenda had hit after hit.

But she didn’t have great taste in men or women. Her girlfriend, in 1995, died of an overdose as Brenda laid next to her in a drug-induced haze.

The men she dated tried to con her out of her money. She died in 2004, a voice for disenfranchised blacks during apartheid, a legend.

Mahmud of Ghazni

Mahmud of Ghazni was the first ruler to hold the title Sultan. He ruled the Ghaznavid dynasty from 998 to 1030.

His empire, which extended from northwestern Iran to the Punjab in India, the capital Ghazni became the epicentre of the Islamic world.

He appointed his male lover Malik Ayaz, a slave from Georgia, as the Sultan of Lahore.

When Mahmud asked Malik who ruled the land, and Malik said it was him, Mahmud corrected him saying, ‘I am a slave to a slave.

Kenny Greene

For many R&B fans, Kenny Greene was a voice of a generation. He won Songwriter of the Year for his work with Mary J Blige, Will Smith and 98 Degrees.

He was also the lead singer of the group Intro.

In 2001, he came out as bisexual. He died at the age of 32 due to complications of AIDS.

Emile Griffith

Emile Griffith was one of the most famous boxers of his generation, becoming a world champion in three weight classes.

The contest he is best known for is in 1962. At the weigh-in with his opponent Benny Paret, Paret called Griffith homophobic slurs and touched his buttocks.

Griffith won the bout by knockout; Paret never recovered consciousness and died in 10 days later.

He was quoted in Sports Illustrated: ‘I like men and women both. But I don’t like that word: homosexual, gay or faggot.’

He added: ‘I don’t know what I am. I love men and women the same, but if you ask me which is better … I like women.’

Billie Holliday

Billie Holiday was one of the most iconic jazz singers of the 1930s.

Starting off in Harlem, her voice became recognized around the world.

She suffered many personal tragedies, a drug addiction. It is thought, in prison, she had many same-sex relationships with women.

But in her career, she was openly bisexual. She’s even rumored to have dated actresses, including Tallulah Bankhead.

Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo is perhaps one of the most iconic painters ever. Born in Mexico City, she survived polio as a child and an accident that confined her to her bed for over a year.

She survived mentally by drawing on her full body cast. Frida is best known for her 55 self portraits.

The early 20th century bisexual artist had affairs with both men and women, including her husband’s mistresses. She was linked with American painter Georgia O’Keeffe and movie stars Dolores Del Rio and Paulette Goddard.

Her painting Two Nudes in a Forest is a tribute to her attraction and love of women.

Malcolm X 

Malcolm X is a liberation hero. Before his assassination in 1965, there were rumors he had same-sex relationships while in a marriage with a woman.

The political leader’s sexuality remained unknown, until an acclaimed biography was published.

Bruce Perry wrote Malcolm – The Life of a Man Who Changed Black America. He interviewed many people close to him during adult life. Several of them state he truly was bisexual.

See also:

LGBTI people of color outnumber white LGBTI people on broadcast TV for the first time

UK Black Pride 2018: 14 photos of people of color living their best lives

Stonewall quits Pride in London over race but people of color disagree

Author: Joe Morgan

The post The 11 bisexual people of color they didn’t teach you about in history class appeared first on Gay Star News.