Carland’s series of large-format photographs Lesbian Beds (2002) depicts beds that have been recently vacated. Shot from directly above, they are lavish views of very private spaces. The artist plays to her viewers’ voyeuristic impulses, inviting us to look, but then denying us the opportunity to study the figures to whom the sheets belong, so that the rumpled covers become like anthropomorphic stand-ins inviting empathic projection.
Using photography, text, and video, Tammy Rae Carland tactically realigns traditional ideas of love, partnership, domesticity, and family. Her work consistently subverts heteronormative conceptions of gender and sexuality; positive representations function simultaneously as portrait and protest. Based in Oakland, she is the chair of the photography program at California College of the Arts.