Down the Rabbit Hole is a farewell gift of sorts from drag queen-turned-photographer Vicki Leaks to a unique band of Amsterdam drag queens, club kids and performers, many of whom form Club Church’s House of Hopelezz.
After spending the last decade living in the city, and shooting photos at Club Church for the past four years, first-time photographer Mark Bennett (aka Vicki Leaks) will return home to Australia in October with camera and wigs in tow.
The exhibition is an attempt by Mark to prove that regular people can be just as creative as the professionals, and it’s a goal that has been reached utilising a distinctive approach.
He was often dressed in drag when taking photos and cultivated numerous friendships along the way. By disarming her subjects, Vicki has managed to capture natural moments rather than deliberate or self-conscious poses, and the images in the collection reveal a two-way reflection of intimacy between subject and photographer.
“The camera captures that split second in time,” says Mark. “When a camera comes along, a lot of people go into this automatic pose and I lost so many wonderful photos because people became aware of the lens. So I’d always say, ‘Don’t pose, please don’t pose!”
“People often say ‘I look ugly in photographs’. But there is beauty in everything and that can be captured,” he says. “So it became about the special relationship and the trust. People just felt free whenever I had the camera”.
Taken at Club Church, outside on the Kerkstraat and at a Flikker party, Down the Rabbit Hole features images of Hellena Mirrix, Jake Credit, Dynno Dada, LoLo Benzina and Snorella WC, amongst many others.
It will be opened by filmmaker Michiel van Erp at 6pm on Sunday 2 October at Jacob van Lennepstraat 10, Amsterdam, and it will run for three weeks. Entry is free and everyone is welcome. The collection is set to appear in Sydney in 2017.
This interview appeared in Gay News Amsterdam in September, 2016.
Photo Credit: Vicki Leaks
Model: Dynno Dada