Lindsay Ladd of Ginger Fox Photography
Lindsay Ladd is a West Philly-based photographer who focuses on weddings, events, portraits, headshots, and engagements.
As the owner, creator, and head photographer of Ginger Fox Photography, she prides herself in photographing the weddings and engagements of fellow trans, queer, bi, gay, lesbian, non-binary, polyam communities, and all the beautiful allies, as well. To summarize, she is rad as hell and I can’t wait to get to know her better.
Shannon: What are the diversity challenges you face, within your business or as an individual?
Lindsay: When hired to shoot weddings or events that have traditional or cultural elements (gift-giving ceremonies, tea ceremonies, Baraat’s, etc.) that I am less familiar with, it’s always beneficial to talk to someone who has more intimate knowledge of those traditions. My preference is always to have personal first-hand perspectives to help inform me rather than relying just on my own research. When I photograph events that I’m unfamiliar with, and don’t know anyone in that community, I end up relying on the client to explain a lot of the details and needs to me.
Shannon: What is your experience with working with LGBTQ+ clients?
Lindsay: I’m super honored to be able to photograph a fuckton of queer weddings! My fellow queers are my family and I feel right at home interacting with them; from swapping coming out reaction stories, to reminiscing about the old Sisters bar in Philly, to dancing to Robyn with them at their reception. I’ve loved every LGBTQ wedding I’ve been involved with, and can’t wait for all the ones on the horizon!
Shannon: What are some tangible actions you’re taking as a wedding vendor to be more inclusive of underrepresented communities, without tokenizing them?
Lindsay: At this point in my career, it’s pretty exciting that I’m photographing more queer weddings than straight weddings, and that’s a direct result from my desire to do so (from interacting with couples to re-branding my website).
Shannon: It’s so refreshing to go to your website and see LGBTQ+ work represented so beautifully. I’ve found myself trying to be conscious of language a lot within wedding photography, especially when working with polyamorous clients, when the word “couple” might not apply or could feel exclusionary. There’s so much stigma and stereotyping around pre-conceived ideas of what polyamorous relationships look like, so I really appreciate you disrupting the system in such a lovely way.
What are some things you’ve learned along the way in terms of authentically representing your clients? I think back about how exclusionary my language was when I started 10 years ago, and how I only found out some of my clients were polyamorous after their wedding, once we became closer on social media. I feel like I hit a lot of roadblocks and would have formed more intimate relationships along the way, prior to the wedding, if I had been a better listener. If I didn’t carry so much bias with me. If I had been more validating and affirming. What are some ways you strive to make your business a safe space for clients, especially those who are LGBTQ+?
Lindsay: Thanks! Although the institution of marriage is pretty binary, you’re either “married” or “not married,” historically the queer community, and currently the poly community, have found creative ways to celebrate their love and relationships. And luckily enough, I’ve been honored and thrilled to help them out and to document it. When interacting with queer, poly, or any clients with a background in which you’re not familiar with, it’s important to be honest about what you do not know, and to be humble and ask in the face of ignorance.
My advice to photographers that are outside of their comfort zone, upon meeting up with couples, let them know that you’re not too familiar but, you’re really damn excited to photograph their ceremony — whether that’s queer, poly, Lithuanian, Pakistani, Wiccan, or whatever their background is that is unfamiliar to you. Acknowledge your ignorance so they can inform you of important elements, but, couple that with your excitement as well so they can feel comfortable that you’re in their corner and happily celebrating with them.
For creating a safe environment and interacting specifically queer couples and clients, I’ll answer that as a LGBTQ wedding photographer, but, also as a queer person myself. Although acceptance is more common now, there are still plenty of people out in the world that are uncomfortable with how we show love. And that uncomfortableness can manifest itself in looks, harsh words, negative encounters, or even violence. When we’re affectionate in public, when we look gender nonconforming, when we display our queerness, we risk ridicule, marginalization, and injury. And this is especially the case for trans folk and for gay men displaying affection.
When we show our love out in the world, it’s an act of bravery to do that in the face of potential hate and violence. And so, it’s imperative if you’re photographing a LGBTQ wedding, to let queer couples know that you celebrate their love, that you’re comfortable with them kissing and being affectionate in front of you, and that you want to photograph that! Let them know you want them to be them on their wedding day — to be in love, and to show that love to the world, and that it’s your honor to capture that. This is how you show you’re an ally and create a safe space.Also, for gender nonconforming or trans clients, misgendering them is a big deal, and can ruin their day, so it’s important to get that right, every time. For those unfamiliar with misgendering, a trite, but perhaps fitting analogy, would be if you referenced a woman being pregnant and she wasn’t, she just has extra weight. You’re assuming something about someone else’s body, incorrectly, and making them feel horrible in the process.
Shannon: Thank you for being so open and honest about your experiences. What’s your favorite part about working in the Philadelphia wedding industry?
Lindsay: The laid-back nature of most Philly couples!
Shannon: What are you listening to?
Lindsay: 20’s jazz, 60’s soul, current indie, down-tempo electronic. Nina Simone, James Brown, Phantogram, Royksopp, Fever Ray, etc.
Shannon: What’s a pop-culture plug you’d like to share?
Lindsay: Anything that Gillian Anderson is in (The Fall, Sex Education, etc) has me swooning.
Lindsay: I mostly avoid IG and Facebook these days. I’m probably shooting myself in the foot because I run a photography business, but, I feel…uneasy…about those platforms…for myself, but also for how it has affected our culture. It’s hard enough to not compare yourself with others in general, but scrolling through social media, it’s almost impossible. And those comparisons are of course unfair — the curated life that one exhibits on social media is far from the reality of one’s life.
Shannon: What’s something you’d like to plug for your business?
Lindsay: I always want to do more boudoir shoots (clothed, semi-nude, or nude), solo, with a partner, or even a friend.