Photography Class Transgresses Body Norms
Easy Camera Art Presents: MEDITATIONS ON DIVERSITY
studio lighting workshop that transgresses body norms
January 31, 2015, 2-5pm
Artscape Youngplace, 180 Shaw Street, Toronto
*barrier free environment
Toronto, ON – Easy Camera Art announces Meditations on Diversity, the first in a series of nude photography workshops that push against social body norms. In the first workshop taking place January 31st, photographers will explore how Gi (right image), a model who is transgender fluid, is transformed by various lighting styles and drapery.
Teresa Ascencao, Easy Camera Art’s owner and instructor who is cis-gendered and an ally, says her goal is “to empower people with the creative tool of photography to push against what ‘normal’ bodies look like – in contribution to an inclusive society.” Ascencao acknowledges she didn’t know how the photoshoot would function to ensure respect for Gi as the model. So Gi reminded Ascencao that there is too much focus on the genitals of persons who are trans, and that it would be best to have the model control the poses and drapery, to their own comfort level. “It then made complete sense to me” says Ascencao.
Gi says, “people seem to be obsessed with what is in the pants or under the skirt of a Trans Person, something that should be private between one and their lover only. They confuse sexual orientation, which has to do with one’s sexual preferences in a partner with being transgender, gender being something in the mind, and how one expresses oneself outwardly. Transgender is a very broad category encompassing everyone from fully operated male to female, or female to male, to any mixture of gender fluidness, even those who cross dress.”
Pushing against gendered social norms is critical, especially in context of persons who are trans. On December 28, 2014, just before the turn of the new year, 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn committed suicide: lazerprincess.tumblr.com/post/106447705738/suicide-note. An Ontario based survey conducted by Trans PULSE indicates that 45% of people who are trans have attempted suicide. It also concludes half of trans persons are making under $15,000 per year regardless of post secondary education, 18% had been turned down for a job because of their gender, and 34% were subjected to harassment due to their identity. 1 in 200 adults may be transgender.
The first Meditations on Diversity workshop on January 31st takes inspiration from a photo series entitled “Gender Studies,” by France’s celebrated photographer Bettina Rheims (left image). Future Meditations on Diversity workshops will host models of various genders, races, ages and abilities to examine how culture, photographer and the model shape the pose of diverse human bodies. Participating photographers are given creative and technical guidance in manipulating light to describe form and express mood. All photography experience levels are welcome. A model release is offered so that photographers can use the images for non-commercial purposes, such as portfolio building or creating artworks. Must be over 18 years old to participate. For details visit: EasyCameraArt.com/workshops.
Gi is a model, character actor, singer songwriter, musician, guitar player, performer, teacher, tantric coach, and runs spiritual retreats. He/she has modelled as both male and female, living as gender fluid. Gi is passionate to bring transgender reality into the mainstream, as well as advocating for women’s and LGBT issues. Gi also participates and performs at LGBT Pride, and Eco Aid events throughout North and Central America.
About Teresa Ascencao
Teresa Ascencao’s award-winning artworks that touch on topics of gender and sexuality have been exhibited widely in Canada and internationally. She has been teaching photography for over a decade. Students benefit from the instructor’s extensive technical and aesthetic knowledge.
About Easy Camera Art
Easy Camera Art is for people who want to explore their creativity and for photographers who want to build their portfolio. Learn the techniques and art of photography in ways that are fun and easy to understand.