Jennifer is a transgender woman who contacted me via an online Facebook group connected to MTUK. She is an elder person, who is very open in the online community. She is from America, having spent a lot of time as a lecturer in south America, she is currently living her life in Morocco, dressing up in the attire of a woman in Moroccan culture. This worries me, as she could end up in a very dangerous situation if she is not careful.
At the time I went to meet her in Cardiff, she did not have anywhere to live and had spent the past year floating from person to person, across the country.
I know that she is a sex worker and from my meeting with her, seemed that she had many issues. This is two main problems in the transgender community – mental health issues and discrimination within work places and the assumption that trans people are kinks, fetishes and belong in the sex world.
These are important issues to highlight, but I feel this is something I cannot just delve into… I want to take time to build connections and research certain topics thoroughly.
Below are some of the less indecent images that Jennifer puts up on Facebook.
If I am being honest, I am concerned about working with her. She had a tendency to manically talk and she was very self obsessed. This was very hard to work with and at the end of the shoot, I felt she had something she wanted, but it was not the end result I had wished for. I was trying to steer clear from staged, high performance photographs but this is what had happened.
Jennifer had arranged to use a friends hairdressers as she had described, but when I arrived, the small hairdressers in Cardiff had an entourage of around six people to dress and make Jennifer up. I did not realise it would have been this extreme!
From the shoot, I have made connections with the hair dresser and they wish to use me as a photographer for trans events in the future.
The mannequins, butterfly’s and reflections all highlight the narrative of my project – transformation, identity, ideals and the unobtainable.
Please see contact sheets for further images.