Portfolio review with Claye Bowler

A few weeks ago, it was recommended that I contact Artist
Claye Bowler to discuss Transgender art and gain some feedback from another
Transgender practitioner. Claye met with me at the university last week to
discuss my work and what I intend to do with my practice beyond my degree.

Prior to Claye coming into the university, I had not spoken
to another member of the Transgender community about my work. Meeting with
Claye gave me the opportunity to discuss his own practice and the reception he receives
when exhibiting his artwork that explores his Gender Transition and archives. I
was able to create a small installation with my video projections playing, a
few prints hung and my photo book out for Claye to review.

During the review, we discussed ideas around the physical
archive and how I can incorporate the physicality of medical documents within
my photobook. This led to me developing a physical NHS folder which will be
used as a book sleeve for my photobook.

Claye’s review also made me reflect on the intentions of my
work and who I want the work to be aimed at. My intentions at the start of this
project were to document my transition to raise more awareness around
Transgenderism. However, whilst my project has raised awareness of Transgenderism
with those that I have spoken to, it has also developed into a very personal
project that visualises my emotions throughout the process of transitioning and
gives others an insight into my life. Claye felt that the images all presented
a dark and sad tone throughout and doesn’t necessarily translate the joy that
Transgender people experience. This observation made me consider the emotions
that I am currently experiencing and the possible lack of Transgender joy and
how this relates to the title of the project. I am still seeking the joy that
other Transgender people experience and this project is capturing the phase
that I am currently in whilst I wait for the medical procedures and other
opportunities that will see me find Gender Euphoria.

Overall, my portfolio review with Claye made me reflect on
the intentions of my project and also my life whilst photographing my
transition. My project may take years to finally come to a close due to NHS
waiting times and my emotions changing over time. It also made me consider who
my work is for. My intention for the project was to raise awareness around
Transgenderism. I am a Transgender person living in a Cis-Gender world and this
book has shared private aspects of my life to Cis-Gender friends and family
around me to educate them. My meeting with Claye made me consider that whilst my
book appeals to Cis-Gender people , it may not always appeal to other
Transgender people because every Transgender person’s experience is different. 

Using Format