I just discovered photographer Charlie White’s teen and transgender photos for Andrew Sullivan’s recent Faces of the Day blog. They were part of a show at the Hammer in LA which unfortunately closed on May 31st.
The portraits are distanced and deliberately constructed, with serious artifice and commercial quality polish. They’re also striking, and effectively make both their aesthetic and social change points. It’s powerful work that I’m not completely comfortable with, and definitely need to think more about.
Central to this new work is a group of five photographs titled Teen and Transgender Comparative Study, which parallels two puberties: one biological, the other chemical/surgical. Over the course of a year, White worked to identify teen and male-to-female transsexual subjects who, when viewed together, would create a visual bridge between female adolescence and male-to-female sexual transformation.
In the images in White’s series, both figures are blossoming into womanhood, though each along a different path. As observers, however, we have been taught to view the subjects in much the same way: with sheer terror. (Andrew Womak, The Morning News)
I love the concept of both of them blossoming into womanhood.