In Fellatia & Morag, Hollie Fleur Brook captures the drag personas of her dear friends Stuart and Cameron
Shot between Edinburgh and London, the photographer’s graduate project joyously documents the dichotomy of drag – both “the glamour and the mundane”.
- Ayla Angelos
- 7 August 2020
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
Meet Fellatia and Morag, two drag queens who are also known as Stuart and Cameron. Fellatia has a style that’s both feminine and masculine, who’s bold and unafraid of anything that comes their way – while Morag is the epitome of bold extravagance, who has a love of theatre, fine art and has a style that hints at countryside antique collector. The two subjects are the focus point of Hollie Fleur Brook's recent graduate photography project, a documentation that forged from her university social group which was made up of a group of drag kings and queens. “We started the RoePaul’s Drag Society at our university,” Hollie tells It’s Nice That, “so I was always surrounded by the community and held such a deep admiration for the art.”
Having always sought to create a project that documented the lives of these two young queens Fellatia and Morag, the result is a celebratory disposition – whereby portraits and still lives come together to tell the stories of her subject’s limitless bounds of gender expression. To achieve as such, Hollie travelled to Edinburgh to photograph Stuart/Fellatia as they were moving into their new flat, while also working at their bagel shop and visiting “the place of their first kiss”. For Cam, their shoot took place in London in a studio and home setting. “Conceptually, I wanted to highlight the dichotomy of drag, the glamour and the mundane. This is why I place equal emphasis on the banal everyday objects such as ash trays and socks, as well as the highly stylised studio portraits.” She adds: “The used makeup cloth image in particular is a great reminder of the creation and destruction of drag, after each performance.”
In its entirety, Hollie’s photography style takes a narrow lens to her subjects, documenting and celebrating them for who they are. This detailed approach can be give thanks to her small village upbringing on the south coast of England, which was consumed by drawings of people and places from an early age. “Growing up, art was something very private to me, somewhere to escape to,” she adds of her remote yet creative childhood. “I have always been a quiet and observant person taking note of the environments around me.” A little while into her teenage years and Hollie had discovered how photography can be used as a more immediate outlet for her creativity, especially when it comes to taking portraits of her subjects. “I love people and their personal experiences,” she adds, explaining how from then on she’d taken the leap into a BA of Photography in London, improving her technical skills and beginning to understand what it means to be a photographer.
Hollie’s reasons for venturing into the medium are simple and expressive. “It is the sheer diversity and innovation of photography as a medium that continually excites and motivates me; I love the crossover between technology and art,” she says, telling us how she’s happy to be part of such a freeing and fast-changing community. “Photography will always have a nostalgic pull for me, as my early memories are filled with hundreds of photo albums at my parents home and the pictures I took on disposable cameras we got developed in Asda.” In this sense, nostalgia plays a prominent role within her work and style as a photographer – always propping up as a pillar to her concepts, Hollie makes sure to keep the past and its influence on the future relevant throughout.
This, plus her childhood memories of creating “imaginary worlds”, are the key influences to her practice. In other parts, Hollie cites Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s Hustlers series as an influential piece of work, particularly for its cinematic aesthetic and the photographer’s work with minority subjects, plus “the balance between the artist’s influence and the subject’s reality”. Then there’s Instagram, another main muse of Hollie’s and one that she uses to scout her subjects and new locations, as well as interact with the community.
Now that her graduate project is out for the world to see, Hollie will continue to work with an independent Indian street food restaurant called Chit Chaat Chai and, with the founder Tania Rahman, has been creating a series of portraits of the team – “which has been a wonderful experience”. What’s more is that Hollie has plans to continue her work with Fellatia & Morag, as she hopes to capture their “ever-growing talents and life escapades”. As two beguiling subjects, what more can we wish for than to continue to see more about their lives unfold in front of us? Of her ethos, Hollie concludes: “I create the work to demonstrate that drag and its industry is so multifaceted. It’s always the most fascinating to me, to reveal the less glamorous side of an artist or performer. What I see the most in Fellatia & Morag is the joyous celebration of the everyday, by finding the beauty in life’s small pleasures.”
GalleryHollie Fleur Brook: Fellatia & Morag
Hollie Fleur Brook: Fellatia & Morag, Morag in Gay House
About the Author
Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and continued to work with us on a freelance basis. From November 2019 she joined the team again, working with us as a Staff Writer on Mondays and Tuesdays until August 2020.