A Collins Library exhibit at Tacoma’s University of Puget Sound explores transgender identity through photography and written word.
It’s not fantastic art, but it moves you just as much. “T-Town Transgender Neighbors: A Portrait Exhibition,” which just went up at the University of Puget Sound Collins Library, is a portrait show in the deepest sense of the work: 13 works of photography and text that delve into the most fundamental aspect of people’s lives, their gender.
The show impresses, not with visual tricks, but with stories. Each of the 13 folks shown in 11×13 photograph and text has coped in some way with transgender issues, with outcomes ranging from crossdressing acceptance to surgery and a complete estrangement from their old life. The photography by Irielle Dean is polished but conventional, subjects posed in front of Tacoma landmarks like the Narrows Bridge or Wright Park. There are a couple that have more depth of eye, like “Lukas G.”, slouched defiantly in front of a slash of graffiti downtown, the light bisecting him on a diagonal. But in a way, the conventionality does more than place these people squarely in our own neighborhood; it frames them as would a prom or wedding photo: mainstream, accepted.
And that’s mostly the point. Read more »