‘I felt free and I felt safe to take a break from pretending to be straight and just be me’

We love this new image by photographer Samuel McGuire, featuring acclaimed queer skateboarder Lacey Baker.

McGuire, a photographer based in Los Angeles, who has previously shot campaigns for Adidas and Nike, produced the print for Pride Month to help raise funds on the anniversary of the

Pulse shooting in Orlando.

He explained the idea on his Instagram.

‘I have wanted to photograph this image of someone skating holding this handmade flag of smoke flares @formerinsurgent and I made for a while.

‘With #june being Pride Month, I wanted to sell prints during June to raise money for the 49 victims who were mercilessly gunned down June 12th in an Orlando night club. I was talking with @laceybaker about the idea when she told me her friend had his coming out party at the club that night and luckily was one of the survivors however some of his friends weren’t.

‘I knew the photo had to be with Lacey and so we teamed up to make this photo.

‘Our goal is to raise $4,900 dollars for @pulseorlando @onepulseorg foundation to help set up a memorial as well as many other needs for those affected.

‘Be proud every month, but especially this month.’

The print is now on sale at Big Cartel.

McGuire tells GSN that @formerinsurgent is Tom Vanderwall, ‘A dear friend of mine I grew up with. His family is like my family so I often just call him my brother. Tom builds sets, does lighting, grips and just does about everything for video productions in NYC.’

Lacey Baker

Lacey Baker, 26, is a professional skater from California. She is regarded as one of the best female skaters in the world.

‘I met Lacey years back on a thing Thrasher Magazine does called King of The Road where basically you drive across America doing random challenges for points,’ McGuire told GSN.

‘That year all the special guests were female pro skaters and she was a special guest for Converse’s team. I was struggling to come out of the closet at the time and she was out, and in the video clip she was making out with a girl and she was just so fucking cool.

‘Then a few years later a friend of mine Jon is talking about this new designer he hired who was a pro skater and maybe I knew her and it ended up being Lacey. So I hit her up and we got brunch and finally formally met and just have been friends ever since.

He explained more about why he had been moved to create an image to raise funds for Pulse.

‘Gay bars/clubs are such a sacred space in the gay world,’ McGuire said. ‘When I was really struggling to come out, one of the few places I felt “OK,” for a lack of better words, was at gay bars and clubs. I felt free and I felt safe to take a break from pretending to be straight and just be me.

‘Looking back it was silly as it’s just the same person I am now but, it played such a vital role in my life and figuring my head out. They are such safe spaces for everyone and to have something so tragic happen at place like that still just brings me to tears.

‘Feel inspired’

‘I wanted to do a fundraiser for the obvious reason of raising money for the One Pulse foundation who is doing wonderful things for everyone affected by the shooting,’ says McGuire.

‘But also to just sort of remind people about it or commemorate the shooting. Not that I think anyone has really forgot about it but I just felt like I needed to do something.

‘I also wanted to try to put out a powerful photo to try to show people the power of photography and using your voice. We are living in some very bizarre times and I think art can help inspire people in those times.

‘I want people of all age, race, gender, etc, to look at that photo and feel inspired, but I really wanted the LGBT community to look at the photo and feel some sort of fire to keep pushing forward together.’

GSN has approached Lacey Baker for comment.