Magnus Hastings  and Courtney Act.jpg

Born in the UK, Hastings was educated at the King Alfred School, London, followed by a foundation course at Chelsea School of Art and a drama degree at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.


As a young actor, he supported himself by taking headshots of friends for the UK casting directors’ directory, Spotlight, and soon became a professional photographer, specialising in the celebrity and gay scenes. He shot covers for magazines Attitude, Bent, Boyz, QX and AXM as well photographing stories for GQ, People Magazine, Cosmpolitan Magazine (Italy), Glamour Magazine (UK), the Sunday Times magazine, the Observer magazine, Grazia (Holland) etc.


But it was the drag artists he encountered in London’s Soho that proved his most riveting subjects and photographing them lead him to Sydney, in 2005, where the drag scene was ions ahead of the rest. While still niche, Sydney’s drag artists were far from hidden; they were widely celebrated for their artistic freedom and experimental, risk-taking work.


‘I had been a cross-dressing, doll-owning little boy until I was shamed out of it. Arriving in Sydney felt like coming home and I embraced the drag scene. I think I see drag through a drag queen’s eyes, even though I don’t dress up anymore; I still feel that I am a participant, not just an observer. The drag queens can sense this and they allowed me into to what is normally a very tough world to access.’


Hastings relocated to Los Angeles in 2011 and continued work on his drag queen series, travelling the country to discover the most innovative drag artists working today.


He exhibited the Why Drag? series in New York in 2014 to much acclaim, and quickly secured a book deal with Chronicle Books . Hastings’ reputation as the leader of the drag photography genre resulted in his guest appearance as ‘Celebrity Photographer’ on Ru Paul’s Drag Race in 2015, and his book was published in 2016. Sir Elton John recently acquired 4 prints from Why Drag? for his renowned photography collection.