The OUT100: Behind the Scenes with Photo Director, Greg Garry

Out magazine's annual portfolio titled the OUT100 has showcased many influential and inspiring people over the last 20+ years.  We spoke to Out's Photo Director, Greg Garry, about this exciting issue. See below for some of Greg's favorite shots and view the whole portfolio here.


Greg Garry: The OUT100 is Out magazine’s signature issue, where we celebrate the best and brightest of the year.  This portfolio is inspiring and humbling because of the variety of LGBT people we get to feature, from all walks of life.  It’s not only celebrities, but lawyers, activists, athletes, business people, newly out trans youth, even President Obama sat for us in the White House two years ago, not too shabby.

This is my sixth time producing it, I’m a glutton for punishment.  My background in film production helps me with the unrelenting pace of photographing 100 people all over the map, usually in the space of 1.5 months, and all with one photographer, who usually have a breakdown at some point.  This year Roger Erickson shot it for us, and he kept his cool.  I think he did a great job--he can handle a variety of different styles and lighting.  Our theme and mantra this year was DEFIANCE and smash the patriarchy, but just being your authentic self is the key to every OUT100 subject’s story. 

Here are a few of my favorite shots from this year:

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The Four Covers of the OUT100 Issue

GG: Last OUT100 was entirely black and white due to the somber tone of 2016, so this year we wanted it to be bold and in your face.  I’m always starved for color.  Roger created nice color-blocked backgrounds for the series, which now seem very Patrick Nagel to me. Yay 1980s!

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Sasha Velour

GG: We lucked out that Sasha was in town for DragCon, so we went up on her hotel roof, just before she was performing in an angel costume.  There just happened to be a Gothic church in the background, giving us a Wim Wenders Wings of Desire vibe.

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Torch Song Trilogy Group

GG: It was a dream to finally shoot Harvey Fierstein for this, his Torch Song director Moises Kaufman and star Michael Urie on the kitchen set of the play.  Harvey literally had us all in stitches with his ribald Ethel Merman and Barbra Streisand stories.  We captured that moment here.

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Matteo Lane

GG: He’s a rising star in the comedy world, but also very sexy and often shirtless in his Instagram, so I wanted get both of those qualities across.  All I needed was Matteo’s lack of shame, and one strategically placed rubber chicken, which was soon torn to bits by my friend’s dog.

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Saturday Church Cast and Director

GG: They are all from this sweet indie film about trans youth, and we wanted to create a fun 70s disco vibe with these gorgeous kids.  I think we achieved that, with the perfect clothes thanks to our genius fashion editor Michael Cook.

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Kristen Beck

GG: She is a real bad ass, a former Navy Seal who fought in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, and now fights for trans rights in the military.  A real American hero, here posing in front of my thrift store flag in homage to Rosie the Riveter.

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Samira Wiley

GG: We loved this crazy Gucci dress on her but it was so long it looked silly, so I put her up at the top of a ladder with the train just floating above the floor.  She looks majestic like a queen in a deck of cards.  I only wish I had put shoes on the feet of the ladder.  Oh well.

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Jill Soloway

GG: We shot at Jill's house by the pool in their Sukkot tent, which is a Jewish feast of the harvest.  There were torahs, food, wine bottles and feminist signs everywhere, the perfect setting. It’s very Jill, who was just back from vacation and looks so serene and beautiful here.

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John Waters

GG: We have photographed him a few times over the years, but never in his Baltimore home so that was a thrill for me as a lifelong fan.  We did it in his living room amongst his bizarre library.  I couldn’t resist throwing in the creepy prop of the Tingler from the William Castle horror classic, whom John portrayed on FEUD on FX this year.

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Lena Waithe

GG: She is just one of the coolest, smartest people and her Emmy speech was unbelievable, so moving and true.  I put on some Whitney Houston and she just danced and pumped her fist in the air, perfectly embodying the defiant spirit of this year’s portfolio in one frame.


CREDITS:

Photo Director: Greg Garry
Photographer: Roger Erickson
Design Director: David Gray
Styling by Michael CookMark-Paul Barro or the subjects themselves
Editor-In-Chief: Aaron Hicklin