I stopped taking testosterone after 10 years of transgender “hormone therapy” as an exploration of my body as a site of literal and metaphorical gender abolition. My body and its metamorphosis towards gender ambiguity became source material Shimmer Shimmer.
The photographs were created at the historically gay section of the People’s Beach at Jacob Riis Park, now a haven during the summer months for NYC queers. Riis is our sanctuary, a stage for liberated bodies.
We spent a great deal of time observing the light, making notes on the phase of the moon, the tides, and the weather (looking for storms or avoiding them) in an effort to make the images come together.
This was the coldest of the photo shoots, between shots, I put on a long overcoat and foot and finger warmers on my toes and fingers. We waited for the full moon and I posed through the pain holding thoughts of a younger generation of queers this work might inspire.
“... [Claude] Cahun challenges the idea of the artist as an individual creator in favor of the couple and the principle of inter-artistic collaboration.”
Claude Cahun, Marcel Moore, Lise Deharme and the Surrealist Book, Andrea Oberhube
“...this integrally and almost exhaustively nuanced space is the shimmer [...]: the Neutral is the shimmer: that whose aspect, perhaps whose meaning, is subtly modified according to the angle of the subject’s gaze." (pg. 51)
The Neutral; lecture course at the College de France (1977-1978), Roland Barthes
“Camp was a form of heroism without deeds, a silent protest transforming the brutal imperium of nature into the beauty of artifice; it turned social exclusion into self-designed, privileged exclusiveness, and the humiliation of normality into the grandeur of self-invention.” (I/35 -- i.e. Book I, page 35)
Camp: Notes on Fashion; Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art Introduction by Fabio Cleto
You can see blue skies to the east reflected in the windows and the storm brewing overhead.
Our city has suffered immense loss of human life to capitalist interests -- profit prioritized over human lives, specifically the lives of those deemed disposable. This is ingrained in its history and acutely visible now. As we experience the loss and changes our city is currently undergoing, Shimmer Shimmer imagines a future where the city is returned to its people.