Leland Bobbe, ‘Half-Drag…A Different Kind of Beauty’

Still pondering how to capture my subjects I discovered New York based photographer Leland Bobbe and his series, “Half-Drag…A Different Kind of Beauty” which I found both strange and exciting! The images evidence how alluring mashing up images can be and how it can reveal so much more within a single frame.

The images delve beneath what the public would usually see and reveal a hidden world, a part of the character, a dimension that lies beneath. This is what I find is so poignant about the series and has influenced me to do the same. I want to reveal the regular things about my subjects and not have the fact they are transgender to be the main focus. This is due to the fact both my subjects want to be perceived as they are, not transgender or as they’re biologically sex. Therefore, doing a mash up of them, as a male and female would be tricky and insensitive. However, these images created by Bobbe are enviable!

The series offers a unique perspective on some of New York’s most famous drag queens, men who dress as ultra glamorous women. The faces depicted in the images are cut in two. One side depicts their male identity, as the world outside would see them. On the other side their drag queen persona, their female identity. This distinction existing side by side in one image was to “explore the cross over between males and females and to break down the physical barriers that separate them,” They are bizarre and bewildering. In one shot Bobbe challenges and forces us to view two conflicting and different identities.  Our need to categorize, the traditional ideas surrounding male and female and normative ideas about gender roles are strained and pushed to the maximum. It shows how as humans we find it difficult to recognize someone as possessing both genders and sexes, there should only be male and female.

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