Shoog McDaniel captures trans, queer and heavier bodied people with a powerful gaze, often shot in nature, beautifully rich Floridian landscape and lush terrains serve as the backdrop for McDaniels’ photoshoots. Nature envelops the subject and viewer simultaneously, immersing all within a moment of raw truth.
McDaniels’ series of photographic works are powerful reminders of how diverse society really is, their portraiture highlights the beauty within all and attempts to widen societies perception of beauty. “I want people to come away from viewing my work with a newfound appreciation for their own body and people with different bodies from their own. I seek to demystify fatness, queerness, transness and showcase bodies as art to be appreciated instead of compared against societies unrelenting and toxic value system.”
“Into the Depths”, observes the depths of both the physicality of water and people who are marginalized and dismissed due to their physical appearances and or sense of identity. Abstraction by submerging naked bodies into large bodies of water truly creates a visually ethereal experience. Parts of the figure become hard to identify, adding layers of wonderment, challenging the viewer's perception of what can exist as beautiful. “I am motivated by the connections I find to bodies and nature, by my own body, by my desire to uplift others.”
McDaniel purposely strays away from using artificial light and heavy post production within their photography. They use elements such as natural light to add dimension and effortlessly elicits a fantastical atmosphere. “Into the Depths” demands a strong sense of voyeurism, the viewers gaze is forced by angles that are directed underneath or intimately beside the naked floating bodies. Through these techniques, the whole experience becomes that more engaging, implementing a closeness that is undoubtedly drowning in beauty.
Written by: Ciara Doherty