I began working on this series as I was contemplating hormone replacement therapy, and this body of work ultimately evolved into a journey of radical self-love and acceptance. I have long grappled with decisions about altering my body, weighing whether I should allow myself to age as I currently am or choose to feminize my figure as I see fit. These self-portraits mark a stage in that decision making process. As I worked through feelings about the “natural” state of my body, I photographed myself as a feminine figure in the American landscape. These vulnerable moments in nature allowed me to explore my body in a way I never have before, learning to view my current state as an effeminate form, without the help of feminine clothing, hormones, or surgeries. As I placed my body among naturally occurring forms, and asked how I’d like to be seen, the gender metaphors we impose upon the landscape led to the inevitable question: What does it mean to be perceived as feminine or masculine? In these images, the landscape bends to accommodate my queer body, and the series queers the traditionally male gaze imposed on the landscape by male photographers. I’ve come to understand my gender as a reflection of my soul, situated somewhere between masculine and feminine.
This work was made possible by the Milwaukee Foundation's Mary L. Nohl Fellowship