For my post-photographic portrait I wanted to tell the stories of two family friends who are transsexual *Kate and *Rachel. However, as the weeks have gone by, I’ve gaged more information and correspondence from one subject more so than the other. As a result of this I decided to focus on Kate’s story for my Phonar piece.
Over the last few weeks we have spoke over the phone, shared images and stayed in contact via email. Through this process I have come to learn a lot more about the process an individual has to go through when re-aligning their sex and life thereafter and there’s still so much more to learn! Kate made it quite clear from the get go that she does not want to be seen as transsexual. Kate has mentally always been female and now her physical body aligns with that. As a male, Kate tried to become as masculine as possible, played rugby, got married and became a father. As young as 5 years old, Kate knew that she did not quite fit into her gender or any other box society set out for her. She was ‘playing a role’ a role she thought was expected of her within society. Eventually, living a lie became too much, “It was either suicide, or the other option…I just go for it”. At 49, Kate embarked on the journey to find happiness and become who she really is. Below is one of the recordings of a conversation we’ve had, offering further insight into her story.
I asked Kate if I could share these conversations and was happy for me to do so. As a result, for my final piece I hope to include some audio of Kate, so people get to hear a part of her story in her own words. As she does not want to be seen as transsexual or as a man, I don’t want to portray Kate as a spectacle for my audience to look at. Therefore, as my initial sketch outlined, I want to do close ups of Kate’s face and her belongings. These elements: her possessions, her voice, her skin, will keep her identity ambiguous whilst revealing parts of her personality at the same time. I just don’t want to show her entire face in one frame. I want it to be cut up and close. Her interests may be seen as more male, whilst her look is more female. This will challenge my audience to think what is male and female? And to see my subject in a way she wants to be seen.
*Used different names to keep individuals identity private