Cameron Day O’Connell

A Surrender

Queerness is everything, and it is nothing. It is letting go.

Cameron Day O’Connell. Kem and the Flame I, 2024. Digital Photograph
  • April 4 - 25, 2024
  • Opening: Thursday, April 4, 6:00 — 8:00pm

A Surrender is an evocative exploration of queer life, rooted in the traditions of celebrated photographers such as Nan Goldin, Catherine Opie, and Peter Hujar. Rather than attempting to encapsulate the entirety of queer experience, Cameron Day O’Connell relays the intricate and deeply personal connections they inhabit, capturing moments of love, frustration, and hope. These queer ecosystems–which contain entire underground economies of trade, barter, generosity, mutual aid–often function as a collective consciousness.

They say, “Queerness is a complex intimacy that truly belongs to no one. It is a non-entity, an organism that lives below, between, and among all of us. It is inherently deviant in that it is everything but what you think it is. The community is a myth; in its place is a network of relationships, individuals, polycules, strife, pain, projection, trauma, dead cats, dead parents, too much eye contact and not enough.”

More than ever, queerness is expanding into global consciousness while simultaneously continuing to face legal and social criminalization. O’Connell’s portraiture refuses to conform to simplistic narratives or portrayals. Instead, they embrace the complexity and humanity of queer existence, challenging us to see beyond identity politics and recognize its diverse and multifaceted nature.

This exhibition has been generously supported by a 4Culture Arts Project Grant.

About the Artist

Cameron Day O’Connell is a trans photographer residing on unceded Duwamish land. They grew up predominantly in the Pacific Northwest, evident in their depth of relationship with social and natural ecosystems in Seattle. O’Connell has a background in healthcare and reproductive justice, which informs their work documenting the state of intimacy in the queer community amidst a pandemic, global climate change, and rising transphobia. In 2015, O’Connell received a BA in Psychology and Visual Art from Hampshire College. They were a curatorial intern with Bridge Productions in 2018 and also curated the multimedia Blue Lady series in Northampton, Massachusetts. O’Connell organized with Lions Main Art Collective from 2016-2019 and was an organizer and member of the board of directors and executive committee at The Vera Project from 2009-2013. Their curatorial and personal work has been featured in The Seattle Times and The Stranger.