Natasha is a middle aged transgender woman who studies sociology at Brighton uni. She has been living as a woman for three years. She was the winner of MTUK Brighton, and amongst the egos, I noticed her speeches and passion for equality were the reasons she was using the pageant, to spread awareness and knowledge.
This is the reason why I wanted her involved in my gender project. We talk regularly via Facebook, if I am writing an article or a synopsis about my work, I have vetted it with her and asked her questions. In order not to seem naive or judgemental etc.
I went to Hastings to photograph her in her home, it was a long day, with eight hours of driving and five hours in her home, amongst the photograph taking, their was a lot of discussing on trans issues, the community and wider issues of equality as well.
In my ‘what is real module’, I got Jennifer to write her responses to the images of herself as a transwoman. Natasha has also agreed to write a response to a portrait of herself. I emailed Natasha an edit of these photographs, and she chose the image she wanted to use. This is now been sent to her and I await her response.
She is undergoing major surgery so she also needs time to heal. I think this is a good way of getting the client involved and connecting to the images of themselves, I plan to carry on this interactive way of creating work as the individuals progress in their journey.
She is going to write a collection of thoughts on trans issues – both personal and relevant to societal constructs and systems too. This has been and continues to be a very important part of the project – gathering and portraying individuals thoughts and personal experiences of the trans process in the UK gives so much more depth and validation to the photograph.
– Male privilege
– accepting history/ personal
– discrimination in society
– medical care connecting mental health issues and suicide
– perceptions within and without the LBGT community. etc
In my head I knew I needed one picture, so I feel there is a lot of dead weight in this photoshoot, but having the camera in my hand was a way of communicating and discussing the project with Natasha and where to go next. I am happy with a selection that can be incorporated into the end result of this project.
Hopefully, I will go back in April to photograph Natasha mid way through the healing process after her facial reconfigurment surgery and after she has healed from the surgery in May. This is going to be an incredible change to the way Natasha perceives herself and how society perceives her due to the physical changes she is undergoing – chin/ cheeks and nose.