All photos by Erika Wagner "The Drag Photographer"
Orlando-based photographer Erika Wagner, aka The Drag Photographer, is the magician behind some of the most unstoppably glamorous photos of drag entertainers out there, including of the Miss Gay America & Mr. Gay America 2018 royal family.
This past year she photographed Miss Gay America 2018 Deva Station, Miss Gay America 2018 First Alternate Brooke Lynn Hytes (top), and Mr. Gay America 2018 Judas Elliot. "Love shooting with her!," says Judas, "If u can’t tell! Working with Erika is indescribable. Her creativity and attention to detail is beyond comparison!"
Erika also photographed local girl, Miss Gay Florida America 2018 Alexis Mateo, to fierce effect (below). So fierce, the photos ran in local weekly newspaper, Creative Loafing Tampa. "Shooting with Erika is like seing your best friend after a long time," says Alexis. "She always make me feel amazing and we love to sing Disney songs together. She understand my vision. My favorite photographer!" See those photos and more of Alexis by Erika here.
Below, a random selection of fabulous photos and answers to our little Q&A from Erika Wagner. For more of Erika's work follow her on Instagram @thedragphotographer. Book your own shoot with Erika at www.erika-wagner.com.
1 Why and when did you pick up the camera?
When I was a baby my dad always had the camera on my face. As a teen I always had the camera on people’s faces, they hated me for it. I went into makeup, graduated from a school in Hollywood CA. and was working on set and was asked to snap a few shots. The photographer liked how I took initiative and I began assisting him. My grandfather traveled all over the world and was an amateur photographer, he would always sit me down in front of his 20-40 slide carousels, I credit grandpa for a lot of my current interests, including my love of making pictures. Professionally ( getting payed ) it has been 10 years since I incorporated my business.
2 Why and when did you shoot your first drag queen and who was it?
The first queen I shot was Trinity Taylor. I moved back to Orlando, FL after being with family in Brasil for a year, I hit Trinity up and she agreed to shoot. We have grown together as artists and friends. She's probably the only person I can count on to be completely honest and upfront with how she feels. She's ambitions, talented and I admire her selfless ways of helping those she loves.
3 How is shooting drag queens different from shooting women?
It really isn't very different, glamour is glamour. I may need to use different lighting techniques, settings, and editing.
4 Have you ever done drag?
I am transgender and started my career onstage, so yes, I did drag for 10 years before I started my transition. I was Miss Central Florida New Comer. First runner up to Miss Lakeland USofA, and my proudest Miss Gay San Francisco 2001 where I got to ride on the float at the pride parade. I was in Miss Congeniality 2 ( if you blink you will miss me ) you can see me better when Sandra and Regina are fighting at the airport - I am the Cher on the poster.
5 Best advice for any drag queen heading into a photo shoot?
Treat your photoshoot like its a pageant. New nails, lashes, clean tights, shaved arms, and if your feet are showing....guuuurrrlllllll! I am very opinionated as my regular clients will tell you, I've trained them well LOL. My pet peeve is people who still contour with a redish/wine color. I used to yell at Trinity all the time " DEAD BROWN !!!" The paint is also softer and highlights not as light, lipliner not as dark.
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