Gay Rodeo is an international event that takes place across the United States and Canada. It promotes the LGBTQ country western lifestyle through amateur sportsmanship, competition and recognition.
Photographer Brit Worgan recently visited Phoenix’s Gay Rodeo to get a behind-the-scenes look at an event that challenges the stereotypes of mainstream cowboy culture.
“In my work, I use photography as a way to explore subcultures and identity,” Worgan said.
“The Gay Rodeo started as a personal photo series based on my interest in the subject. Gay Rodeo is a tight-knit affair with deep roots that go back to when athletes were routinely discriminated against. The event was born out of response to not being allowed to compete as an openly gay or transgendered person.”
Shooting in the harsh Arizona sun was one of Worgan’s challenges for this photo series. “I had a vision for the project and decided to work with the sun and not against it. So, with the help of my photo assistant Aaron McLaughlin, I used a flash to balance out the sun and catch details in the shadows which became the story’s aesthetic. Luckily it’s what I planned for and it worked out great.”
Next year, Worgan hopes to release a book with her Gay Rodeo photographs. Signed prints are also available to purchase on her online portfolio and there’s a 10% discount during Pride Month..
“I’m currently applying for grants to continue working on it as an ongoing project,” she said. “Format has been an incredibly useful tool to get my work out there and keeping it updated.”