“One day, I said to myself: ‘I want to make something that uplifts who I am as a person–and who we are as people,’” the photographer Lindsay Perryman tells me of the seed that would later blossom into The Colors We Don’t See at The End of The Rainbow, a resplendent zine made in celebration of African American masculine women in the LGBTQ community. “I’ve always been a part of a community that has very little representation, and I wanted that to change through the making of this zine.”
Zines have a rich heritage in community building, from Fire!!, the famous literary magazine published in New York during the Harlem Renaissance, to Vice Versa, a lesbian magazine from 1940s Los Angeles. Perryman created their zine after encountering work by fellow photographer Stef Mitchell, whose use of crayon helped inspire the presentation of the text in The Colors We Don’t See at The End of The Rainbow.
“I was having a difficult time with self-acceptance during the making of this zine,” they say. “The only thing that kept me going was being able to conduct more shoots and finish my project. I’m very serious and invested in my work when I start a project. The Colors We Don’t See At The End of The Rainbow got me through a dark time in my life when I was dealing with depression, and it helped me gain insight on some issues I’ve been struggling with.”
The people in the zine are friends of the artist and people they met through Instagram. What they all have in common, Perryman says, is the “resilience and strength to keep being themselves.” The portrait sessions took place at the sitter’s home, inside the studio, or in the artist’s dorm room. They were particularly drawn to details like neck tattoos and jewelry that helped tell the story of the person on the other side of the camera.
The Colors We Don’t See at The End of The Rainbow comprises photographs by Perryman as well as drawings by Inez Perera. All profits from the project go back into the community that helped bring it to life by supporting The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center in New York City. “It means a lot to the people in the book to have been included,” Perryman tells me. “They feel seen.”
You can order your copy of The Colors We Don’t See at The End of The Rainbow via Perryman’s website. You can follow them on Instagram at @lindsayperryman.