Malika Gaudin-Delrieu’s Touching Photographs Of “A Happy Hermaphrodite Prostitute”

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“Hermaphrodite [sex … is] the sex of the angels,” explains Claudette, an intersex sex worker, to the photographer Malika Gaudin-Delrieu. The pair began their collaboration after meeting in Claudette’s native Switzerland, where Gaudin-Delrieu was documenting the country’s legalized prostitution. With her recent series of photographs, the artist elegantly dispels stigma around complex gender identities; as seen through her lens, Claudette is a woman, a husband, and a father.

Ideas on prostitution, a field often associated with the abuse and exploitation of women, is also complicated by the work. Here, sex work is seen as a means of self-actualization and joy; “Claudette is the opposite of a victim. She controls her life, makes her choices clearly and knowingly. She does more than just live her life, she loves it,” says Gaudin-Deirieu of her subject. A courageous activist for sex workers’ rights, our protagonist stands before a dark auditorium, bathed in spotlight, silently inhaling, poised to speak.

Laced throughout the work are subtle moments of love and intimacy. The series, romantically titled La vie en rose (presumably after the love song by Edith Piaf, a prolific French singer who was cared for by sex workers), focuses in part on Claudette’s 52 year marriage to her wife Andrée. Claudette’s quiet warmth and affections, seen in her and Andrée’s sleepy embrace, permeates throughout the entire visual narrative; with the same profound care, she counts her earnings, dresses in lingerie, rubs her neck.

Claudette describes her work as “[assuming the role of] ultimate femininity […] with happiness and a sense of relief,” and her nuanced relationship with her sensual yearning shines through in the images. We follow her as stops in the street, seduced by a lingerie shop window, as she dresses herself, fingering the textured fabrics as they cling to her body. Claudette’s life, as seen through streaming sunlight and soft darkness, is magnetic, alluring, and unexpectedly soothing, and viewers are left to ponder an indescribably complex global sexual and political landscape. What do you think? (via Feature Shoot and HuffPost)

Writer’s note: Gaudin-Deirieu’s work and this post are in no way meant to be taken as a generalization of the lives of sex workers; instead, they are meant to highlight the life an individual. As the artist explains, there are as many views on prostitution as there are people practicing it. For many, it’s a form of abuse; for Claudette, it is not.

The word “hermaphrodite” is usually considered to be offensive, and in no way is this post meant to condone or encourage the use of the word under most circumstances. Here, it is used only because Claudette herself identifies with the word. 

JJ Levine’s Photos Of One Person As Two Genders Redefine Gender Roles

From Alone Time, 2007

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From Alone Time, 2007

From Alone Time, 2007

In the dawn of an era where Facebook has added a customizable option with about 50 different terms people can use to identify their gender, and an oscar nominated film about AIDS and a famous male, straight musician playing a transgender role (aka Dallas Buyers Club), we are bound to see more projects like JJ Levine‘s in the mainstream media.

The Montreal based photographer, an avid cataloguer of trans and queer communities since early 2000′s, creates Alone Time, a series of photographs in which he recreates typical domestic environments that play around with the idea of gender stereotypes. For this project he uses one model only; the one model is to play both the male and female characters in the image. The result, Levine said, “challenges the normative idea that gender presentation is stable or constant. Rather, gender expression can be fluid and multiple.”

“work is emerging at a moment when people are starting to talk more about gender and sexuality in the public sphere, which allows more space for queer cultural production and representation in the mainstream.”The thought-provoking work gives us the chance to become vulnerable and empathetic towards

The thought-provoking work not only give us, the viewer (of any gender,) the possibility to become vulnerable and empathetic, but also the ability to imagine ourselves in this specific situation. What would it be like to be a member of the opposite sexes? Do I, in anyway, resemble some of all the male/female/transgender characteristics?

Levine, a trans and queer man, uses his sexuality, gender and past experiences in his art in order to reach out to those who are not necessarily familiar with the subject. He intends to expand awareness through creating work that is familiar to all, and not just one gender. He notes that his images “talk about and celebrate marginality from a place of familiarity and self-exploration as opposed to voyeurism.” (via Slate)

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Jon Uriarte’s Photographs Of Men Wearing Their Girlfriends Clothes

Carlos & Naia

Carlos & Naia

Nick & Reiko

Nick & Reiko

Javi & Gabi

Javi & Gabi

Jose & Ainara

Jose & Ainara

In Spanish photographer Jon Uriarte’s series The  Men Under the Influence, he photographs men wearing the clothes of their girlfriends or wives. The images are composed in the space shared by the couple. Uriarte displays ideas of gender through clothing, as the men wear outfits that would be considered feminine, including dresses and strappy sandals.  In a short statement about the series, he writes:

This work addresses the recent change in roles in heterosexual relationships from the relations of our predecessors and how those changes have affected men in particular. The photos attempt to capture men’s sense of loss of reference, now that women have taken a step forward and have finally come into their own as equal partners.

While I don’t agree entirely with some of the sentiments in this statement, I do appreciate the gender-bending nature of it. The socially-constructed roles of men and women tie our identities to an arbitrary notion that we each have to be a certain way just because of our gender. Clothing is a way we can outwardly express ourselves and our choices. I like seeing these men, looking unaffected by their attire (and even comfortable), sitting in the the place where they share their homes and their lives. (via feature shoot)

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s Street Art Confronts Sexual Harassment

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh - Street Arttatyana fazlalizadeh - street art

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh - Street Art

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, a Brooklyn-based painter and illustrator, responds to street harassment by creating dialogues through art in public places. Stop Telling Women To Smile, a series of portraits depict strong willed women responding to catcalls or inappropriate comments.

This series, which has been fostering solid conversations since it’s 2012 NY inception, is simple in its assertion, yet complex in the response. Madison Carlson of Feminspire addresses some male reactions the work has evoked, one of which involved a penis being drawn on the woman’s face. The New York Times additionally notes: “Andrés Carlos, 50, stood by the freshly pasted posters on Tompkins Avenue. ‘A woman likes nothing more than being told she is beautiful,’ he said. ‘For me, this is ridiculous.’”

But, Fazlalizadeh and Carlson disagree with Carlos. This is not about beauty, but control. Carlson asserts, “Yelling or whistling at a woman on the street like she’s a dog who will come when you call, or telling a woman to ‘Smile. It can’t be that bad. You’d be so much prettier if you smiled,’ dehumanizes her. It reduces her purpose to pleasing the male gaze. The posters, answering that reduction with confrontation, are meant to show street harassers that they are not entitled to women’s smiles or any other part of them.”

What do you think?

 

Photographs That Borrow From History To Critique Sexual Politics

Genevieve Blais - PhotographyGenevieve Blais - PhotographyGenevieve Blais - Photography

Genevieve Blais, a photographer based in Toronto, borrows imagery from classic art history paintings to unpack sexual politics relative to today’s contemporary palate.

Of her intention, Blais states, “The aesthetic/topical dissonance aims to elicit an uneasy response in order to subvert the implicit authority and sanctity of the icon.”

The result confronts and critiques art culture by sitting in an uneasy space between not only imagery, but also mediums– cameras and brushes, forcing us to clearly see the model as the true determinant– a staged powerful variant that has been with us since Caravaggio’s rule, humanizing the myth.

JeongMee Yoon

JeongMee YoonJeongMee Yoon
JeongMee Yoon’s current work, “The Pink and Blue Projects” explores the trends in cultural preferences and the differences in the tastes of children (and their parents) from diverse cultures, ethnic groups as well as gender socialization and identity. The work also raises other issues, such as the relationship between gender and consumerism, urbanization, the globalization of consumerism and the new capitalism. The topic seems to be well tread territory already but it’s still crazy to visualize. Some of the poses that these kids strike are interesting too.

Certain Death: Ben Aqua

Inspired by American pro wrestling promotional videos from the late 1980s and early 1990s, Ben Aqua developed his own series of wrestling personas, each delivering messages of extreme hate, violence, and hyper masculinity.

 

This video addresses a view of pro wrestling as a fascinating calamity of simulated ultra-violence, consumer culture, and homoeroticism.