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Have / Hold

Words and images by Wynne Neilly and Kyle Lasky. Polaroids by, and courtesy of, Kale Chesney.

Have / Hold is a series of self-portraits challenging the traditional narratives and stigmas around masculine intimacy. The two of us first met at art school in 2009 as two young butch women who found kinship in our masculine identities and our mutual interest in documenting the queer experience. We transitioned in tandem and supported each other through the complicated, non-linear processes of reimagining our identities and relearning how to see ourselves and be seen by others. The ease with which we express our closeness is built on lifetimes of the socially acceptable open affection of “female” friendships, a kind of connection we have chosen to keep with us.

Years later, as two cis-presenting men—and more specifically, as men who date women—our relationship is an anomaly among heteronormative representations of male friendship. Whenever we interact, whether through photography, the internet or real life, people often assume we’re lovers ...

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