This article was originally published on June 15, 2015.
Photographer Roger Kisby specializes in capturing intimate moments at public events. His portraits of porn stars off-duty, taken at this year's Adult Video News Awards, stripped away "outer performer aspects" to highlight stars' natural emotions; his photos at events such as SXSW, Afropunk, Comic Con, and, most recently, the 2015 Association of Professional Piercers Conference and Exposition similarly reveal authenticity under artifice.
In Kisby's portraits of APP Conference attendees, individuals show off their body modifications — including tattoos and piercings and implants — and their personal styles. "The point of this project was not to point and say, 'Look at these people, look at how weird they look,'" he explained. "It was to show the range of people that practice piercing or do it for a living or are enthusiasts."
I asked Kisby why he gravitates to photographing events. "From a logistical standpoint, it’s an easier time to get a bunch of people who are into one type of thing together," Kisby said. But the infectious, communal energy is an even more powerful motivator. "Everybody’s there to do this one thing, and it’s all about whatever particular interest they have; they don’t care if it’s weird or goofy or whatever, they’re all there to celebrate it. They feel safe and comfortable and happy." Kisby has no tattoos or piercings — "Maybe that’s why I was fascinated with it, because it was completely foreign,” he said — but his portraits are sensitive and relatable all the same. Click through to meet 14 of Kiby's muses.