The most important tool for a photographer is the lens of empiricism.
This work was exhibited at the University of San Diego, during the week long exhibition, the gallery space not only housed life-size portraits of my subjects, but it was also a space where they could perform or educate visitors on LGBTQ isssues.
This is a photo-narrative about a young performer named Andy Espinoza. Andy lives in Santee - San Diego, Ca., a conservative region where Andy though sometimes experiences being an outcast, he thrives as a productive member of his community and household. Andy became more involved with activism as he built up his confidence, transforming into a more self-aware and more self-assured individual . Andy dressed, styled and prepared students at the 2nd Annual USD Dragshow. The dragshow was seen a controversial statement that upset much of the USD community. The reason for their disdain was the claim that a drag show would not align with USD's catholic methodology. Read more about it in the link below:
As I spent more time with Andy and witnessed people's reactions towards him, I felt it necessary to step into his high heels. Throughout this series I photograph myself with Andy. Inspired by Eleanor Antint's photography and the self portraits of Cindy Sherman, including myself was a way I could make commentary about issues I cared about. I wanted to convey the impact that Andy's powerful visual narrative had on me. In the end, I felt like being in the photographs with Andy was a way for me to learn empirically from my subject and it ultimately enriched my understanding of his journey along the gender spectrum.
Andy identifies as a twin spirit meaning he embraces both his masculine and feminine identity. also known as being "gender-fluid", Andy does not believe in surgical intervention to make him whole, he feels confident existing on the border of a masculine and feminine identity.
This body of work is meant to demonstrate another point of view of what it means to be a "drag queen" from outlandish show girl, to every day survivor, brother, worker, student and individual.