“We’re celebrating the diversity of people and experiences.” | Quenby Harley on launching Biconography for Bi+ Visibility Month

Tell us about Biconography.

We’re a photography project working to increase bi+ visibility, while celebrating the diversity of people and experiences contained within our community.

What inspired you to launch the project?

Our co-founder Emily made an 8m long bi flag for Leeds Pride and the moment I saw it I wanted to wear it as a giant cape. Me and Emily started chatting about how to do that as a one off event, but it quickly became clear there was potential to do much more with it. 2 hours later we had a plan of how to use a fun idea to give people an affirming experience while raising bi+ visibility.

What particular challenges do the Bi+ community face?

Leeds Bi Group recently launched a guide covering this in more detail, but bi+ people frequently get erased by the queer community as well as straight people. This is reflected in the rates of mental health problems, being out, and abuse faced by our community.

How do you hope your project will address these challenges?

Biconography is focussed on raising bi+ visibility and celebrating the diversity of people and experiences that fall under bi+ identities. Our goal is to share peoples stories and improve awareness of bi+ people. At the same time we hope the pictures will be a positive, empowering experience for the subjects. 

How can people get involved in the project?

Liking and sharing our content on social media is a huge help, a way to let us reach a broader audience. We’re also looking for people to take part as subjects! We’ll be running photoshoots around Leeds and we welcome anyone who identifies as part of the bi+ community to get involved. You can find us on social media or email us at biconography@gmail.com. We have our first shoots planned in Leeds on 26th October and 14th November.

What kind of photos are you planning to include?

We want to work with our subjects to capture something of their identity in the pictures, and pair that with text or quotes about their experiences. Part of the concept has always been to use bold items of clothing and props to artificially elevate an aesthetic, to be so visible that we can’t be overlooked or erased. We’re also keen to include people within the bi+ community who face intersectional discriminations (e.g. trans, disabled, or PoC bi+ people).

What do you hope people take away from the project?

I hope everyone gets a better awareness of bi+ issues, and how many bi+ people there are around. Our goal is for the people who take part in the photoshoots to have an enjoyable and validating experience as well.

Do you plan to do more things like this in future?

It’s an ongoing project, we plan to continue taking photos and sharing them online for the next couple of years.

Are there any other Bi Visibility Day projects you’ve seen around that you’re excited about?

There were a few performance nights around Leeds and Manchester which were really awesome.

Do you have any advice for aspiring queer artists?

It feels weird being asked that question like I’m not one myself … Remember that we need to stick together. The industry, audiences, and fellow artists outside the queer community are unlikely to be supportive. Share and support each others stuff, find your queer arts community and work together rather than bitching or competing with one another.

You can find out more about Biconography by following the project on Facebook and Twitter.