Text JF. Pierets    Photos Charlotte Lybeer


From 2003 until 2008, Charlotte Lybeer photographed gated communities and actual “theme parks” in the US, South Africa, Europe, China and the Arab Emirates. ‘The success of these ‘enclaves’ proves that in a society without boundaries, we still desire controllability. It seems that happiness is only possible in an artificial reality where everything is under control of its makers. An architectural décor is being built; a scene in which the inhabitants step away from everyday reality.’


Charlotte Lybeer studied photography at the Academy of Fine Arts Ghent and the HISK in Antwerp. For the series ‘The furtastic adventures of the cabbit and the folf’ she submerged in the world of furries. ‘Each of my series is a logical continuation of the previous one. In this case it was a continuation of ‘Larp, taking a holiday from everydayness’ from 2009. A series of portraits from LARP (Life Action Role Playing) players.

Charlotte uses photography to research the capsular aspects of our society. In her projects Lybeer takes an aesthetic, as well as a social look at people who form groups and/or separate themselves from others. In this case; Furries. The furry fandom is a subculture interested in fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics like intelligence, facial expressions, the ability to speak, to walk on two legs and wear clothes. During the 1980s, furry fans began to publish fanzines, developing a diverse social group that eventually began to schedule social gatherings. By 1987, there was sufficient interest to stage the first furry convention and throughout the next decade, the Internet became accessible to the general population. 

To create ‘The furtastic adventures of the cabbit and the folf’, Charlotte had to infiltrate into its fandom. ‘I became a member of different forums and online communities related on the subject matter and went to conventions in England and Germany. They’re gathering yearly in large hotels which they rent for private use.’ For this series the individuals were taken out of their safe groups and placed into their personal and intimate habitats. The contrast between the costume, which the person uses to tell us something about his or hers virtual identity, and the homey interior is an approach rarely to be seen. The setting reveals the personal identity and daily reality of the player, yet he is still in character.  



‘The hardest part of this project was gaining that trust. If it would have been easy, there would be much more series like this.’

Gaining those people their trust is a tour de force since they are often described as freaks in mainstream media. ‘The hardest part of this project was gaining that trust. If it would have been easy, there would be much more series like this. The first step was to become a member of the group and talk openly and clear about my work and what I wanted to achieve. The second part was to prove that I was serious on the subject matter. That can be achieved by being humorous without being flippant. The hardest part was to get personal so they would trust me enough to let me into their houses.’

‘The furtastic adventures of the cabbit and the folf’ is part of Charlottes project to get her doctors degree. It’s called ‘Lifestyle Supermarket’. She’s photographing different fandoms that are related to virtual, three-dimensional worlds such as Second Life, in which players can create a second identity.  ‘It’s a very intriguing given. People can transform themselves into a superhero, a monster or and animal with human characteristics such as furries. The unique feature of these fandoms is, that these trans human identities are nowadays also assumed outside the virtual world. For me, those are examples of how contemporary men tries to fit in the image imposed by mass media such as movies and games. All my projects are inspired by how people react in a world that is changing. Not only geographical, but also on an imaginary level.’



Related articles

Femme Space

“If you don’t see femmes as queers, it’s because you choose to not see us. You are invested in our erasure. We are here. We have always been here.” A strong quote, coming from Dulce Garcia, AKA Fierce Femme, one of the participants in Femme…..

read more


Belle Ancell is a queer community photographer living in Canada. Amongst her series there is “Unveiled”, portraits of the Vancouver Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. In-depth photographs and representations of people who are, just like…..

read more

Chubby Vogue Divas

Chubby Vogue Divas is an ongoing photography project by artist and activist Charmain Carrol. Her being an activist started in the 90s when black lesbians went through a phase where their parents were not accepting their children’s sexual orientation…..

read more


Danish-born Arrevad spent five years documenting the international, subterranean world of male performers, burlesque, go-go dancers, cabaret singers and porn stars. The journey would take him to New York, Berlin, Paris,…..

read more


Born in Chile, raised in Europe, and with an advanced training in photography, Claudia González has spent the last 2 years working on her project called Reassign. In order to make this series, Gonzàlez joined forces with Mariela Castro’s sexuality…..

read more

Meg Allen

In her series ‘Butch’, photographer Meg Allen shows a variety of women who fall under the category of more masculine than feminine. Over the years people have been given different names to lesbians, and being butch is yet another flavor…..

read more

Kanithea Powell

‘Well, these aren’t your typical flannel, mullet, boot wearing butches. This new art book pushes the Butch-definition beyond its seams. Packed with fashion forward pictures that are vivid, dramatic and provocative. These gender-bending bois will……

read more

Gay in America

Scott Pasfield celebrates diversity in this first-ever photographic survey of gay men in America. Stereotypes are laid to rest and an intimate, honest picture of contemporary gay life is revealed through stunning personal portraits and narratives of 140 gay…..

read more

Sworn Virgins

Northern Albanian women, faced with a culture that subjugates females, live and dress as men in order to provide for their families. These sworn virgins took a vow of chastity, wear male clothing and live as men in the patriarchal northern…..

read more

Masked Superstars

For thirty years photographer Lourdes Grobet has penetrated the world of one of the most popular sports and deep-seated traditions in Mexico: Lucha Libre-wrestling. She documented the lives of the fighters inside and outside of the ring. Lucha Libre…..

read more


Heavily set, rugged and fiercely hyper-masculine, these are males who convey strength, identity and are an ever-growing subculture of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (lgbt) population. Welcome to the “bear” community. Evolving in the…..

read more

The Tokyo Hotel Story

Photographer Nathalie Daoust first broke onto the scene in 1997 while photographing the themed rooms of the Carlton Arms Hotel in New York. This project, her first solo exhibition, was published into a book, New York Hotel Story. Since then…..

read more




Et Alors? magazine. A global celebration of diversity.