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hood by air and pieter hugo capture jamaica’s male porn stars and gully queens

PH & HBA is a stunning new photo book from the South African photographer and NYC fashion label.

Felix Petty

In early 2016, South African photographer Pieter Hugo — whose work captures the spirit and attitudes of marginalised groups of people across Africa — travelled to Jamaica to collaborate with NYC label Hood by Air on a photo book. PH & HBA, as it became known, captures the island's underground community of male porn stars and gully queens dressed up in iconic pieces from the Hood by Air archive.

The resulting images, captured with longtime HBA collaborator and stylist Carlos Nazario, are brave and fierce, capturing the unique spirit and poise of a group of people who live in society where engaging in homosexual acts carries a penalty of 10 years hard labour in jail, and the threat of violence and abuse is very present and real. The gully queens got their name because they've been ostracised by the macho, patriarchal society of Jamaica and forced to live in the drains of Kingston.

There's a parallel to be drawn between Hood by Air designer Shayne Oliver's aesthetic, an empowering gender explosion that refuses to conform, but also finds a creative family in those rejected by mainstream society, and the strength and femininity Pieter and Carlos' images capture beautifully and transgressively. 

Credits


Text Felix Petty
Images via clairederouenbooks.com