My queerness lives the strongest in the room inside my mind.
I found comfort in myself and in my own body for the first time in years when I began to question my gender. These images explore my changing relationship with my gender and sexuality following the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the end of my most recent romantic relationship. They follow me through the process of healing, reflecting, and beginning to define my identity. Throughout the work, I am continually exploring my relationship to place, time, and ritual, as well as drawing inspiration from the queer vernacular photography I see on social media.
Creating these images is a form of escapism; in depicting my personal utopia, I distance myself from a reality in which I am largely closeted and often performing a version of femininity that was ingrained in me as a result of past trauma. I strive for the images to feel vernacular, and as such, I am removing a lot of the technical precision I usually employ in my work. The experience of redefining my gender has been surreal and imperfect, and I aim to mirror that in the images I create. By creating hazy, dreamlike images, I depict the feeling of existing in this personal utopia. This includes a combination of imagery from locations including my bedroom, my childhood home, and my grandmother’s house, as well as the city in which I grew up and continue to reside.
Nat Raum (she/they, b. 1996) is a queer multimedia artist working primarily with photography, creative writing, and bookmaking. They are currently based in Baltimore, MD. Their artwork primarily explores their relationship with their body and the world around them after their past trauma. Their practice centers around creating books and zines as a means to communicate overwhelming emotions, troubled states of mind, and deep dark secrets. Nat is also the founder of Darkside Collective and Fifth Wheel Press