This Photographer Spent Seven Years Photographing Their Trans Bestie
Laurence Philoméne is intent on showing their intersex and trans best friend in all his layered beauty.
All photos by Laurence Philoméne.
“Lucky: A Star is Born” is an ongoing photo project focused on my best friend, Lucky.
I started taking pictures of Lucky in 2011, when we first met and started dating (at the time—now I just consider him family, and he is happily married to an amazing woman). I compulsively document everything in my life, so I would say it started that way, taking diary photos of this person I love. Eventually, I started taking pictures whenever we hung out, and staging photoshoots with him as well, curating a timeline of his style as it has evolved over time.
As the project took shape, my intention came into focus: To simply show an intersex and trans person experiencing the highs and lows of life, surviving, loving, being loved. As a trans photographer myself, it’s important to me to shift the gaze of cis photographers profiting off of trans bodies, and create a body of work that is rooted in mutual care. As trans visibility increases, I want to make sure it’s shown that trans people who do not fit neatly in the binary are beautiful too. I want to show androgyny in a way that’s not “neutral,” but rather the opposite—extreme masculinity mixed with extreme femininity. I want to capture the stunning audacity to exist as everything all at once.
The below is just an small selection of a massive, years-long project. Ultimately, I hope the full body of work will show the layered complexity of our existences as queer, trans, working class, mentally ill, beautiful humans. At the core, this work is about capturing identity as an unstable force rather than a static label.
— Laurence Philoméne