Like the art of drag itself, the dr.a.g. book has undergone quite a transformation over the last two years. Originally published in 2012 by Tectum Publishing, the publisher declared bankruptcy halfway through the book’s first print run. Undaunted, Christopher Logan founded his own press, added 20 pages to the original book, and re-released his book this year as a new edition.This gorgeous collection compiles photographs of drag personas from around the country and the world.
The title comes from a folk etymology of the word “drag” as it pertains to male-identified people dressing as women. In this etymology, “drag” stands for “dress as girl” with drab being the opposite for “dressed as boy.”
In the digital age, it can be hard to see why a photo book is necessary at all. Wouldn’t these images be better in a searchable database that was easier to access? In this case, though, these spreads have an impact that would vanish in a digital format. This book features drag queens from across the drag spectrum, from the fishiest of newcomers to seasoned queens, from classic beauties to the edge of genderfuck. Some widely recognized names are found within including Lady Bunny, Charles Busch, Hedda Lettuce, and a number of RuPaul’s Drag Race alum. In addition to individual performers who submitted their own pictures, several photographers with experience in shooting drag performers (including Kristofer Reynolds, Mike Ruiz, and Austin Young) have special sections inside the book.
My natural inclination is to gravitate towards the distinctive looking people. Show me somebody who has hair to the heavens in three different colors, crazy makeup, and all the accessories, and I will be terribly happy. This book has that and more, all delivered in an artistic, beautiful, and thought-provoking manner. While my love of drag had made me familiar with a large number of the subjects, I learned about a number of new artists who show that the drag community is alive, well, vibrant, and sickening.
By showing such a wide variety of drag, Logan explores where the community is and what it will continue to look like and evolve into over the coming years. While this book contains almost nothing in the way of commentary, educational content, or information that may provide context, it stands on its own as a collection of exquisite photographs that document this particular moment in drag history.