Royal Subjects: The Photography of Clifford Prince King

Written by | Art & Design, The Lens

Do you deserve love? It may sound like a hippie-dippy, touchy-feely, totes-obvi question, but it digs at the root of our gay dilemma.

LGBTQ individuals are predominantly raised to believe that we exist outside the norm, merely looking in. Picture it: a happy couple of breeders wave from the hermetic comfort of their picket fence fortress, smiling on the surface yet sneering at the very idea that we might want to experience a fraction of their wedded bliss.

Joy is for straights they chant silently.

This is exactly why we must change our collective narrative. Until we see ourselves in that perfect house with those perfect expressions living perfectly pleasant lives, we will always litter the margins of society.

We need a spotlight. We need a voice. We need Clifford Prince King.

“My inspiration stems from a longing to see images of black queer folks in love,” he tells Metal magazine.

It’s a gorgeous guiding light, but it can also be a moving target.

“The work shifts as I do. Some moments that I’ve experienced within friendships and relationships can be found within my photographs. Often those moments are fleeting and I attempt to recreate them and keep them with me.”

Seeking sublimity has been Clifford’s life work.

“Growing up, every interpretation of love and intimacy was showcased through a heteronormative gaze” he explains. “The work I make is for my past self and I hope they can allow for others to see that all types of love are achievable.”

Clifford Prince King has already taught us so much about representation and inclusion, but lessons are just the foundation upon which we build empires.

So, here’s your homework: write yourself a love letter. You can do it with words, with selfies or with sketches. Whichever medium you choose, make sure you depict the ideal you. Are you engaged? Are you enlightened? Are you empowered?

We can’t wait to see/hear/feel your story. You deserve to live happily ever after.

Last modified: March 9, 2022