Pride Month is always such a vibrant time of the year, even if events aren’t as big anymore due to the pandemic. Still, that doesn’t stop photographers from crafting LGBTQ-centric projects to celebrate and raise awareness to the cause.

Even those of us who aren’t able to photograph for the occasion can still be inspired to get into the pride vibe. For example, we can always look back at some of the previous years’ outstanding projects that bring a creative voice to the movement.

Among them is a collection of portraits that New York-based director and photographer Geoff Levy shot as part of the Ogilvy & Mather campaign for the 2016 NewFest LGBT Film Festival. I think it’s a perfect example of how great the simplest ideas can actually when paired with the right execution. So, if you’re still thinking about doing a shoot to celebrate the LGBTQ movement, I’m sure this project will inspire you to go for a simple yet persuasive approach.

Building on striking simplicity

For this project, Ogilvy went for a minimalist design to serve as a canvas for the touches of color in the visual identity. The goal was for the typography to complement but not overpower the photography and featured NewFest films used in the campaign.

The photography itself was also minimalist, being simple portraits that effectively communicate the campaign message. The plain, light-colored background makes the subjects pop a bit, but still complements the signature rainbow colors of the LGBTQ movement.

The rainbow flag and its colors has been the quintessential symbol of the gay rights movement. As such, they never go missing in any campaign related to the movement and the LGBTQ community. It’s all a matter of being creative about the use and placement. I think the subtle integration of the rainbow colors in the portraits is eye-catching enough and consistent with the visual style of the campaign.

Capturing authentic LGBTQ connections and vibrant personalities

According to the project statement, the portrait session was held at the LGBT Community Center in New York’s West Village, which is also a cultural hub for the community. “An open casting was held for members to come by and have their portrait taken. The diversity of characters with vibrant personalities created a dynamic range of authentic portraiture.”

This strategy allowed Levy to achieve authenticity through each of the portraits he shot. His photos show us real people with real relationships and real stories, all of which lie at the heart of every LGBTQ campaign. I also like how the agency made these portraits the central elements of the campaign. It definitely aligns with the goal of NewFest to gather together filmmakers and audiences to “bring voice and visibility to the LGBT experience.”

Liked this series? Don’t forget to check out Geoff Levy’s website to see more of his photography and film work.

All photos by Geoff Levy. Used with Creative Commons permission.