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Through Our lens


Through Our Lens Home
Leslie Elsasser - Introduction
Selina Roman - Looking Inward, Seeing Clearer
Christian Cortes

Beginning (Section A)
Jarrett Gafford - US Air Force
Dawn S. Hargrett - US Navy
Rebekka Huneke - Daughter of US Air Force Veteran Father
Ramonita Rosa - US Army
Kimberlee Nicole Smith - US Army
Monika Sutton - Wife of US Army Veteran
Karl Young II - US Army Colonel (US Special Operations Command)

Advanced (Section B)
James Alexander - US Air Force
Manfredo Bobadilla - US Army
Wildalys Class - US Air Force
Agustin Collazo Jr. - US Marine Corps / US Navy
Amanda Dodd - US Army
Evan Fountain - US Air Force
Mikko Maki - US Marine Corps
Alicia Morales - US Army
RaeAnne Swanson - US Air Force


Christian Cortes, Untitled, 2022

Christian Cortes, Untitled, 2021

Christian Cortes

Breaking Barriers has been a wonderful collaborative experience. The workshop sessions allowed us to explore an array of photographic concepts and techniques with all the veteran participants. They were challenged every week with new concepts and techniques, and they always surprised us with their results. The results of these explorations were incredibly satisfying. It was a privilege and a delight to share ideas and critiques with everyone. The level of growth during this short workshop period was impressive. I always leave Breaking Barriers inspired and ready to make artwork. 

The image that I shared in this catalog is a direct result of the inspiration and challenges that we presented during the summer workshops. This image was captured using a cellphone, a portable inconspicuous tool. All the edits and post-production were limited to the capabilities of the phone.

In my artwork, I explore the hypersexuality of masculinity in queer culture and I seek subjects that could trigger mischievous thoughts. Composing multiple images together I expect to sexualize things and objects that typically have no gender or are not thought of as naturally sexual. I add some of the hypersexual qualities of queerness found throughout queer history like leather fetishes, hair, rounded voluptuous curves, shine, latex, and bondage. My experience as an artist has been enriched by many of my students and the artists that surround me. I am very grateful for this experience.

Artist and Breaking Barriers Instructor



For more information:
Email Leslie Elsasser at

Breaking Barriers is a project by USFCAM in collaboration with the USF School of Art and Art History, with Support from the USF Office of Veterans Success, Community Arts Impact Grant Program of the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, Love IV Lawrence 2020 Waves of Change Grant, and additional support from the ACE Arts for Community Engagement Fund and the Florida Department of State.