Monday, July 10, 2017

Photo Idea: The Life Of A Ladyboy Sex Worker

Tonight as I was bleaching and toning my 7th dad print for "Healing Process" I started to lovingly look at the grain on my fathers hospital portrait. I miss my dad so much, it was nice to be with him up close like this. As I looked at the grain, studied the grain and its beauty came forth. I never really understood the wonder, the awe photographer Sebastiao Salgado felt for his grain until now. Grain is so earthy, so real, it is true, it is the wonder of photography, it is life!!

35mm Tri-x combined with ultra sharp Leica lens and bleaching can create such a wonderfully unique and exciting pictures. Going forward what could I photograph with this grain-35mm technique? What about ladyboy sex workers? How? In what way??

Should I got back to photographing sex workers again? I was much happier in the world of dumps and slums, The people in those poverty stricken environments are so much easier to get along with, so much kinder, so much more friendly, so much more generous. My thoughts of a return to sex worker pictures started after reading an essay (linked below). Many of the earlier goals I set for myself before making the sex worker pics, many of the hopes that those photos had for me were realized, they were felt by this Harvard student writer. I had reached her, my thoughts had become her thoughts. Was I wrong to stop making them? By abandoning the sex worker portraits was I missing the chance to tell these stories to a larger audience? Maybe it was my destiny to tell these  kind of stories, stories so few others wanted to tell. Could grit my teeth and enter that world once again?

Here is the essay:

How to return to that world? What photographs to make? I initially thought of doing a series of 4x5 shallow depth of field head shot portraits of bar workers (still might do that, here is a sample of that look)

Now I am also thinking of a new project. Befriending and documenting the life of  ladyboy freelance street sex worker in Bangkok or Pattaya. The project might be called " Ladyboy Sex Worker", "Katoye" (Thai word for Gay), "Ladyboy" (Politer Term) or simply the name of my subject? " Jiji", "Betty","Suzie" (ladyboy's seem to often have an iii on the end of their name. Not sure what the deal with that is).

I have had many transgender acquaintances, some of these relationships might even be called almost friendships. I have never thou had a true close friend who was a ladyboy or documented her life in a deep background personal sort of way. Where she lives, her family, her friends, her customers, her thoughts, hopes and dreams, her life!

That is the idea for this project. To tell that story, the whole story of a single ladyboy freelance sex worker struggling to survive, her feelings, her thoughts, what makes her-her. I so often see discrimination and hatred of transgender people. Why? Live and let live, we all are human being first, the rest is just window dressing. Who cares about race, gender. religion. Human beings is what we are!! That is all that matters. I would want my proposed essay to tell the story of a  HUMAN BEING. Maybe if the pictures are good enough, I can open and change a few conflicted viewers minds for the better. :)

More thought needed on this, I have 3 more months and a bit before Thailand.

More* I might have to shoot parts of this series (if it happens) in digital which would allow me to shoot at 10000 ASA and maybe a bit faster in very low light situations. I think thou for the most part, I would do it in Tri-x 35mm for the grain.