Letter: Emily April Allen on This Month’s Cover

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Emily April Allen (self portrait)

To Those at Out and About Magazine,

I am the photographer of the cover feature in the July issue. As a Nashville resident for the past 8 years and an active member of the queer community, I know that Out and About is a trusted and well-circulated publication. I was honored and excited to be included in this way.

That being said, I do want to express my concern about the phrasing of the cover headline, “Faces of Covid,” that accompanies the photo. I feel that these words, positioned across this joyful photo of siblings ArJae and Munk Foo, unintentionally frame them as representatives of the pandemic and misrepresents the photo (and in turn, the project). Clearly, members of the Black community have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and this a very important and necessary topic – just not one that is centered in the Queers and Quarantine article. The purpose of the Nashville Queers in Quarantine project was to connect and feature queer Nashville during a time of isolation. It is a project that features community, resilience, and also joy.

I understand that the headline was not meant to label this specific photo, but more so to introduce the overall theme of the issue. However, as the photographer of this photo and the featured project, and especially a photographer that constantly is mindful of the impact of her images, I felt compelled to express my opinion.

Thank you again for the opportunity to be featured to the wider Nashville LGBTQ community. Expanding the visibility of this community is the largest motivation of my work.

Best,

Emily Allen

*After receiving this letter and hearing these concerns, editor James Grady was very receptive to my feedback and proposed an updated headline, “Facing the Pandemic,” which I feel is more appropriate than “Faces of Covid.” It seems more encompassing of the experiences of the community in a broader sense and does not label those in the photo or those in the Queers and Quarantine project.