For Hymns from the Bedroom, London-based photographer Poem Baker paints intimate portraits of gender non-conforming young adults at home, capturing ephemeral and candid moments of sexual, creative, and personal discovery.
Baker is drawn to individuals who eschew conformity in favor of self-expression, those who push past cultural boundaries and gender roles to reveal something raw, genuine, and courageous. She seeks out everyone from performance artists to actors, cross-dressers to strippers. Her subjects are her personal friends, and the camera is just one component of their bond, only making an appearance when the photographer is struck by something rare and precious unveiling itself across her companion’s countenance. Most of the time, she admits, she just spends time talking with each person, maybe only taking a few frames at a time.
Baker leaves it almost entirely up to her subjects how much they will reveal to her lens, explaining that they will remove layers of clothing only of their own volition. Ultimately, Hymns from the Bedroom is a collaboration between friends, and the warmth and affection felt by the photographer bleeds through and colors each frame.
In Baker’s eyes, her subjects are pioneers and visionaries scratching at the surface of who they will become. Together, her portraits make up a diary of sorts, a time capsule created to immortalize a time of excitement and self-exploration. Her intention, she says, is to create something to which they can all look back, to remember what life was like when they were kids on the brink of figuring it all out.
All images © Poem Baker