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Phillip moved to New York from Melbourne Florida to attend school in 2005 and graduated from ICP in 2009. A stark departure from his hometown, the first work he created was about the characters and mentors who shaped his point of view, and the muses he found in the queer spaces he frequented.

Phillip’s work focuses on using photography and film to tell stories about identity, Queer history, and its rituals. His practice prioritizes a slower, more decisive, analog approach to the craft of photography. The risk and the ritual of making photographs is intrinsic to his work. 

The photographs presented in The Invasion of the Pines were taken in the Summers of 2017 and 2018. The ritual known as the Invasion of the Pines began one summer evening in 1976. A resident of Cherry Grove named Teri Warren was denied service at The Blue Whale restaurant, a Fire Island Pines establishment. Teri was denied service because they came to the restaurant dressed in drag.

On July 4th, 1976, a group of Cherry Grove residents, dressed in drag, embarked by boat to protest this injustice by their sister community. Upon arrival in the Fire Island Pines Harbor, the invading queens gathered and Thom Hansen, known by their drag name Panzi, blessed the harbor and libations were served to the invading queens. This was the beginning of a tradition that exists still today, almost fifty years later.

The Invasion is a vestige of our collective queer history, an intergenerational exchange between those who still remember July 4th, 1976, and those who come to the island now to witness and share in this passage, a ritual born out of resistance.

Portrait of Phillip Gutman