Interview with Queer ATL Photographer Andrew Lyman

This Friday night at Murmur, WUSSY is excited to celebrate the launch of our first print publication. The Body Issue features the work of over 30 queer artists and writers from all over the Southeast. Featured on the front and back cover is one unique photographer, quickly rising in the Atlanta art scene: Andrew Lyman.

Andrew will premiere his new body of work, Southern Comfort, at the magazine release party. The project spans from 2012 to 2016, during which he lived and traveled intermittently between Atlanta, Savannah, Brooklyn, and Baltimore. Andrew's photographs follow his experience with queer youth, as he watches his friends and loved ones grow and flourish in the spaces they navigate, command, and occupy together.  

The reception opens at 7pm at Murmur on 100 Broad St SW. 
The Body Issue will be on sale for $15. Limited copies available, so get there early!

What is your background in photography?

My background in photography really began when my dad would bring home prints of family pictures from Eckerd's... or maybe that's just my first experience of photography. I took pictures like everyone else until I got a Nikon camera in high school. I'd always take pictures of myself and my friends for the internet. I used photography and the internet to create an identity that I couldn't necessarily embody in public during high school. I really didn't consider it as my art form until later after I took a black and white film class during my second year of college, which made me change my major from Painting to Photography. I used my dad's old film camera that he took my baby pictures with. Since then, almost 5 years ago, I've been obsessively making photographs of my life and my friends.

Do you consider your work queer? Is it queer because of your perspective, the subjects, or the work?

It's queer in all of those ways. My work is a product of my growth as a queer person. I constantly take pictures of everything around me, especially portraits of my friends. My photographs document a period of time when my friends and I have learned how to express our gender, our politics, and our freedom, while in turn, shedding remnants of heteronormative structures that have dominated a big part of our Southern upbringing. So yeah, the work is rooted in queerness and expression, growth, the passage of time.


How did you decide on the name Southern Comfort?

I came up with the title looking through my pictures on my hard-drive with Monte, my frequent collaborator and best friend. He was helping me narrow down ideas. With such expansive work, I wanted a title that could guide the viewer through the show in a poetic way. Looking at each photo, I found a lot on all of the ways you can interpret Southern Comfort. The photographs unconventionally describe this classic phrase in a more delightfully morose way. It's this redefinition and fluctuation of meaning that I tried to capture in the functionality of the work itself. Monte literally just said Southern Comfort and I gasped thinking about it all. 

What do you think makes southern artists or southern queer artists unique?

We are so different down here. We just have a totally different experience. We navigate a world that has a completely different history and social atmosphere than anywhere else. Artists in the South have so many phenomena to create new language for through our work. What makes us unique is our way of living and what tools we have to create work that reflects it.

What are you listening to these days?

Aside from listening to Solange every day, I've been trying to keep up with NPR on the 88.5 station. Their coverage of post-election current affairs has been helpful and enlightening. I recently watched/listened to the Nina Simone documentary on Netflix again while working in my studio, which affected me in a whole new way since the first time I watched it over a year ago. I also always put on Miranda July audiobooks in the background when I need to occupy my mind and edit photos.

Who are your biggest visual inspirations?

My Dad, Nan Goldin, Larry Clark, Wolfgang Tillmans, Kehinde Wiley, Molly Matalon

Favorite Atlanta spots?

First of all, my beautiful room in Reynoldstown with all wood interiors that I love. Comedy night at Star Bar on Mondays is one of Atlanta's best kept secrets. Really wherever my friends are at, which is usually at someone's house. I love getting polar pops from the gas station and going through the Cookout Drive Thru with previously mentioned, Monte and his boyfriend Aaren.

See y'all Friday at Murmur!