Nate Francis

Coming out as queer after living as a member of the Mormon faith and serving a two-year mission for the organization was a wake-up call for myself, my family, and my friends. Utah’s desolate geography serves as a metaphor for my experiences. The emptiness of the red rock deserts and expansive salt flats are symbols of the emotional and mental isolation of queer people in Utah’s cultural landscape. Through the use of the camera, my body, the land, and the photo studio, I capture the relationship of my identity to my surroundings. I rearrange my world to make sense of it and re-capture it again and again. My fragmented self-portraits are a visual reminder of the difficulty of being verbally dissected by the people around me. Internally, I have carried the weight of otherness. I bore a physical burden pulling my body down, down, down to dust. I have found fulfillment in taking charge of my surroundings and relocating to New York City, as so many before me have, and creating an existence outside of Utah that allows me to defy, dissect, rearrange, and share my experiences with autonomy and clarity. The camera is my guardian angel and tool for self-creation, carrying me from day to day as I redefine and recreate myself through my own intention. I am created in my own image.


Nate Francis is a photographic and sculptural artist who works with issues of identity and isolation. Nate grew up in Provo, Utah in an LDS family of nine children. His work explores the consequences of his upbringing in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as a queer youth and the process of queer migration and establishing his own sense of home and family.