New York City photographer Ashley Kolodner began GAYFACE: 1st Class in 2011 in response to her own experience with gay rights in American society. Since then, the project has been recognized for its intimate look into the LGBT community.

“Through these photographs I’m capturing personalities and in that split second of the shutter clicking, I feel one with the subjects. I hope that these photographs bring awareness, a human connection and invoke emotion,” says Kolodner, who photographs gay subjects twice—first with their eyes closed, then with them open, looking directly at the viewer. “As a queer woman and an artist, I want to give the LGBTQ Community a platform to express their voices and their truths. I want to show the many faces of this community, the diversity and the strength it takes to be who they are each day.”

GAYFACE Ashley Kolodner

Photographer Ashley Kolodner

Donations to the project’s KickStarter campaign will be used to create a book of individual portraits accompanied by bios, LGBTQ-friendly/owned restaurants and bars, and a history of the LGBTQ movement. Pledges can be made through May 8, 2014.