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July Shower Sessions

We’re big advocates of long, hot showers. A good steam with a luxurious lather will soothe your muscles, clear your head and soften your stubble before that all-important shave. A great soundtrack will make the whole process a faster and more enjoyable experience.

Summertime and the living is…

Hot, for one. Somedays brutally so. Meaning that long, hot morning shower is best served cold. Cool yourself down in the morning to prepare yourself for the warm day ahead.

As always, Shower Sessions is here to help with a selection of tunes that are fit for the season. July’s theme: Hot Weather Music.

Your morning weather report comes to you courtesy of Mr. Jimmy Reed. His forecast: “The Sun is Shining.” On both sides of the street, he adds. (Note to self: wear sunglasses.) Peter Tosh backs up the consensus with “Coming In Hot,” a mood that will only be “Intensified” by the likes of Desmond Dekker.

Remember to not take these steamy days for granted. Remember those dark February days when you would’ve given anything for a stray golden ray of heat. When the mercury creeps, don’t bounce from air-conditioned room to air-conditioned car to air-conditioned room. Greet the blazing sun as warmly as it greets you. “Ain’t That Good News,” indeed (excellently covered here by NOLA’s great Kermit Ruffins.)

For you shall ride the heatwave of today like a “Devil Surfer,” so let the “Summertearz” drip. You’ll get your “Hard (Earned) Water,” but only after you “Light (My) Fire.” Yes, somedays, it’s a “Long Journey,” but you will face it head on, because “Here it Comes.”

Once you’re through the day, perhaps even an early Summer Friday, seek out a lazy evening outdoors, in a backyard, park, pool, beer garden, or any place where there is grilling to be done. And bring friends, even a four-legged one. These are the dog days, after all and you’re listening to Ty Segall’s ode to “Fanny Dog,” while you’re “Shootin’ the Breeze.”

Something you can do “All Night.” Provided you take your morning shower.

Follow Five O’Clock on Spotify to enjoy Shower Sessions from anywhere.

Sarah Deragon & The Exploration of Identity

In 2014, Sarah Deragon posted a photo of herself to Facebook with a caption entitled “Queer Femme,” it was the first step in the creation of The Identity Project, her iconic, queer photography project that seeks to explore the labels we choose to identify with when defining our gender and sexuality.

What started as a modest goal of photographing 50 individuals depicting their chosen labels, spurred a global phenomenon spanning multiple countries and hundreds of portraits, “I feel like it was a very big celebration, it went viral immediately which was unexpected and exciting. It spoke to my heart, and my connection with these people, how they trusted me with their faces, their representation.”

“If we so choose, we get to be different things throughout our lives, there’s not one thing that we are, from any one period of time.”

Four years later, her project became the inspiration for Harry’s Pride Campaign, putting her behind the camera to help us uncover how eleven participants from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences view themselves through the lens of pride, and discover how each are uniquely Proud.

Photography by Talia Herman

Sarah Deragon

Sarah explains, “This is the biggest thing that has ever happened to me, and to have it come from a random crazy idea I had four years ago was amazing. I think what’s most exciting was just all the love I have for what I do, and the respect I have for the people in the campaign, to come together and be reflected back to me.”

And what’s reflected back is tied deeply to Sarah’s ability to connect with her subjects-to the rawness of their insecurities, and the nuance of their individuality. “I just really try to see people, whenever I meet someone I think about if I were to fall in love with this person, what would be the first thing that I would love about them? What is the most distinctive thing about them?” Deragon explains, as the real beauty of a person comes from that difference. “Getting to know a person in a short period of time it is interesting as to what folks tell me first and most often it is what we all have, [the self-doubt] how we see ourselves and how others see us, getting it all out in the beginning un-complicates [the process], so then we can connect on a heart level.”

Photography by Talia Herman

Sarah Deragon with E & M

Sarah continues, “I’m an English major, I love adjectives, so I will always start a session asking [my subject] what are some words that they want people to think or feel when they look at this photo?” But it’s important to note that these words are always in flux, constantly evolving along with each of us, “If we so choose, we get to be different things throughout our lives, there’s not one thing that we are, from any one period of time.”

Photography by Sarah Deragon

Sarah Deragon and partner Leslie Wiser

“When I first started The Identity Project, I used the words Queer Femme to describe myself, but when I think back on when I first came out I would have probably only used the words Gay or Lesbian to describe myself. And now in 2018, I’d probably use different words again. Language and identity are tied to so many things and I’ve always been committed to showing the beautiful diversity of our LGBTQI communities and have tried to actively seek participants who are POC, trans*, bisexual, youth, elders, disabled, immigrant and otherwise identify as outside of the mainstream gay and lesbian culture.”

One of the most important catalysts for more recent shifts in Sarah’s identifiers is centered around her family-her partner Leslie, a farmer, project manager and activist for LGBTQI families, and their two children. “Meeting Leslie and stepping into the role of a parent has filled up parts of my heart that I didn’t even know needed filling.” Sarah continues, “Parenting is a lot [of] living by example and I feel super proud being part of the LGBTQI community and I hope they’ll be inspired by that. I want these two amazing little beings to have the freedom to do and be whatever they want. I want to inspire our children to stand up and speak their truth, emboldening them to be proud of themselves, our family, and to nurture – I hope – future little activists.”

Photography by Talia Herman

Sarah Deragon

As for what will always remain intrinsically important to her artistic process, “I don’t want anyone to have mediocre feelings about any of it, about who I am, what I do, or anything related. If you go to my site or see my work and it endears you to me, or you are repelled-I’m okay with it. I want the full spectrum.” Because if you’re not pissing them off, or making them fall in love, you’re not doing your job.

Learn more about The Identity Project here.