Seasonal Chilmark resident Gabriela Herman began taking photographs in high school, mostly of her friends as she gained experience working in the darkroom. At the time, she didn’t know her passion would lead to a professional career with work as varied as fashion shoots in Brazil to rodeo queens in the United States. She has also photographed three cookbooks whose authors (Chris Fischer, Ben Sargent and Joan Nathan) she met through the Chilmark Community Center.

As a kid she had what she considered an idyllic childhood, which included summers and weekends at her family’s home at the Brickyard in Chilmark. But when her mother came out as gay in 1996, when Gabriela was a freshman in high school, she felt her world had collapsed. Her confusion, resentment and anger weren’t just about her parents’ divorce. It was also about why they split up: her mother’s homosexuality.

Ms. Herman didn’t know anyone else with a gay parent. She didn’t tell her friends. It wasn’t even something she and her siblings discussed together. That experience is, in part, what led to Ms. Herman’s recently released book, The Kids: The Children of LGBTQ Parents in the USA. The book features photographs and interviews with more than 75 people who have one or more LGBTQ parent.

Aquinnah resident Molly Purves reached out to Ms. Herman when she heard about the project. — Gabriela Herman

“I wish I had this book when I was younger,” Ms. Herman said in a recent interview from her home office in Brooklyn. “I wouldn’t have been as alone as I was. Before I started this project, I didn’t know anyone who had gay parents. I never talked about it.”

Ms. Herman’s process for representing the voices of kids raised by LGBTQ parents included more than 100 photo shoots and interviews conducted over seven years.

“For me, the interviews were informative and therapeutic,” she said. She recalls stopping some of her first interviews to talk through an emotion or experience when feeling a kinship with what was being shared. But even with her emotional proximity to the material, her priority was always on the person she was working with.

“I made a point to do the interviews first so that people could get comfortable,” she recalled. “People were sharing very intimate personal stories. We would talk, the person would be more at ease, and that would make a good portrait.”

Ms. Herman shot the portraits in natural light at her subjects’ homes. It was important to have only one person at a time in the frame. The results are beautifully compelling, intimate portraits, many of them close-ups of the faces of the storytellers.

Ms. Herman found a lot of her interview subjects through COLAGE, a national non-profit that provides support to children with gay parents.

“The kids who grew up going to COLAGE events had much more facility with the language talking about the experience,” she said. “They’ve been talking about it since they were kids, in comparison to someone like me who had never met anyone else with that experience until they became an adult. Or the people who lived in more isolated areas who had never come across a gay person other than their parent.”

Ms. Herman would do the interviews first, to make subjects more comfortable, before doing the photo shoot. — Gabriela Herman

Finding people to interview and photograph became easier as the project moved along. Once she began talking about The Kids, people offered suggestions. Molly Purves from Aquinnah learned about the project through COLAGE’s website and then reached out to Ms. Herman. Ms. Purves’s father came out as transgender when she was fourteen years old.

“My parents split up probably a year after,” Ms. Purves says in the book. “By that time it was clear my dad was going to transition. When she would come to see us, she would still be dressed as a man but there would be differences like her ears were pierced or her nails were painted. My dad’s given name is Austin and Austin was going away, and Vivian was emerging.”

During the process of creating the book, Ms. Herman interviewed her brother and sister, and so for the first time the siblings finally talked about their own experiences of having a gay parent. “It was a pivotal conversation and we’d never talked about it before,” she said. “It was so interesting to realize what their experience had been and how different it was from mine.”

The book is published by The New Press. The launch party took place in early November at New York city’s legendary home for photography, the Aperture Foundation.

“There were an overwhelming number of subjects who made a point to be at the party,” Ms. Herman said. “People came in from California, Boston and Philadelphia. A lot of the people I interviewed and photographed were people I’d met only once. And some of them were six or seven years ago. It was powerful to have them together.”

Among the attendees at the launch party were Ms. Herman’s parents and sister as well as her husband and daughter. Her mother married her partner in one of Massachusetts first legal unions. Her parents have remained friends and the families share holidays together, including an upcoming Christmas vacation in Las Vegas.

That sense of family is what stays with Gabriela Herman as she looks at The Kids now. “I’m so surprised at how different and unique all the different combinations that make a family are,” she said. “Every story has twists and turns. That’s the biggest takeaway: how different and unique family bonds and structures are.”