Photo Essay

The Way We Were

Christine from The Way We Were

"Different though the sexes are, they intermix. In every human being a vacillation from one sex to the other takes place, and often it is only the clothes that keep the male or female likeness, while underneath the sex is the very opposite of what it is above". From Orlando (1928) by Virginia Woolf

The Way We Were series is part of a larger documentary program that captures the lives, struggles, and diversity of the transgender community in the USA and abroad. This series investigates and confronts some of the cultural and social stereotypes associated with gender in order to challenge the conventional notions of masculinity and femininity. Its objective is to promote understanding, and raise awareness about the fluidity of gender and sexuality within the human race.

These portraits are of people holding photographs of themselves prior to their gender transformations, and are accompanied by their individual stories. They are rooted in documentary reality, yet formally rigorous and conceptually self-conscious. These double-portraits were taken in informal circumstances and with natural light by imposing a strict seriality and a formal classicism in the captured images. The goal is to reveal the adversities that these people have had to face in their aims of achieving congruence between their physical identity and their real inner self. By showing successful gender transformations, it is hoped that the viewer will use this information to reconsider their own concepts of gender and identity.

15 responses

  • mark regester

    mark regester (Deleted) gave props (10 Aug 2009):

    this is really great. voted yeah!

  • Carlos Aviles

    Carlos Aviles (Deleted) said (11 Aug 2009):

    Excelente ensayo fotografico.

  • Maura Wolfson-Foster

    Maura Wolfson-Foster gave props (11 Aug 2009):

    Not only should this series be published in JPG, but it should be published in book form - Brilliant work Rogelio!!!

  • Maura Wolfson-Foster

    Maura Wolfson-Foster gave props (11 Aug 2009):

    Of course you have my vote.....your work fascinates me sooo!

  • Dorothy Menosky

    Dorothy Menosky gave props (11 Aug 2009):

    You've got my vote.

  • Sean-Michael Gettys

    Sean-Michael Gettys said (12 Aug 2009):


  • Ashly Martinez

    Ashly Martinez gave props (12 Aug 2009):

    True beauty lies within. Seriously beautiful work.

  • peter

    peter (Deleted) said (14 Aug 2009):


  • J. Aiden Simon

    J. Aiden Simon gave props (14 Aug 2009):

    So good.

  • mean MR mustard

    mean MR mustard (Deleted) gave props (14 Jan 2010):

    Voted! I have to agree with Maura Wolfson-Foster.. this series would make an excellent book, along with other amazing portraits in your gallery. I really think this is one of the best photo essays that i've seen on JPG. And I always enjoy your explanations... because, while I think that a great photograph can stand on its own, at the same time I enjoy the opportunity to understand what the artist was thinking about as well as be able to reflect on the phylosophical aspect and thought-process that goes behind a project such as this one. Part of your last sentence made me think about something: "...the adversities that these people have had to face in their aims of achieving congruence between their physical identity and their real inner self." This is so true for the transgender community in particular! I think they are perhaps, out of all the minority groups, the most marginalized. But I also think this concept applies to all humans. We are all, in some way or another, struggling with finding some sort of balance or congruance between our inner and outer identities. This can be expressed in so many ways by different individuals, whether you;re into body modification/tattoos, or if weight is an issue, plastic surgery, or even our sense of racial consciousness). Making me think about topics like this is why i love your work so much. Identity is a huge aspect of interest for me. Portraits give a huge raw glimpse into this world... and yours are so interesting! :)

  • Rajeev Jadhav

    Rajeev Jadhav gave props (25 Aug 2010):

    Simply touching to heart !!!!!!!

  • Meghan

    Meghan gave props (3 Sep 2010):


  • Carlos Aviles

    Carlos Aviles (Deleted) said (2 Oct 2010):

    Great series

  • Anthony Jalandoni

    Anthony Jalandoni gave props (7 Jan 2011):


  • Kayla Goldstein

    Kayla Goldstein gave props (19 Apr 2012):

    Such a great series, very impressed.

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