Young couple holding one another.
Photograph by the Butch Order of queer couple Ben and Korey

The Butch Order: Photography representing the unseen 

3 mins read

A queer couple kissing in their kitchen, the lights dimmed.  

Portraits of a young woman defiantly staring down the camera lens.  

This is the work you will find from the ‘Butch Order’

Louise Dalgleish is a 22-year-old butch lesbian from Portsmouth, photographing underrepresented queer lives in Manchester. 

Before finding representation Dalgleish’s life was quite different, but through seeing butch lesbians on social media she realised: “…there’s other ways you can be.”  

Dalgleish explained that even though queer representation has become more prominent in recent years, it’s mostly those that are palatable ‘that your mum would like’ being seen- rather than the whole scope of the community. 

She noted that when other kinds of queer people are represented it’s often not in a positive light and almost never touches on intimacy as it’s coming from an outside or commercial perspective. 

With a focus on butch lesbians, trans masculine individuals and non-binary people, Dalgleish is determined to reframe representation in a way that is from a queer perspective. 

In her words: “What makes them unseen isn’t the intimacy. It’s the people themselves.” 

The Butch Order shines a light on and celebrates these unseen subjects and their intimate moments that are often hidden.

On her first shoot with friends Ben and Korey, Dalgleish said: “It was really interesting to see my two friends be intimate because I think, especially when we’re in public, that doesn’t happen because there’s the risk of homophobic or transphobic abuse.”  

Going out in Manchester with her girlfriend, Dalgleish is accustomed to holding back on intimacy often saying: “Intimacy is everywhere but when it comes to queer intimacy, suddenly its makes people uncomfortable.”  

Dalgleish takes a fly-on-the-wall approach to her photography leaving the TV on and encouraging her subjects to chat, her aim being to have her subjects respond to the camera in a natural way.  

“Being in their home and seeing how they are with each other is really nice. Being let into that space is intimate.”  

Going forward, Dalgleish aims to continue to build her portfolio by documenting intimacy and the unseen and will collaborate with friend Ben Saunders illustration to illustrate her photographs. 

Featured Image Credit: The Butch Order

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South African student journalist in my second year of doing my Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Journalism Studies.

Instagram: @x_.lin_x

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