(Note: Some images may not be suitable for viewing in work or other sensitive environments)
A new photo series has hit the web that documents transgender and genderqueer individuals living in Minnesota's Twin Cities in a striking and beautiful way.
From photographer Brian Reda comes "Others: Gender," a series of images that capture the raw emotion and experiences of this group of people who complicate our traditional understanding of the restrictive male/female binary. Reda's work tends to focus on the "interplay between model, photographer, and audience giving special attention to the balance between the expressive and illustrative."
In order to better understand "Others: Gender," The Huffington Post chatted with Reda this week about his work, his decision to photograph this group of individuals and what he hopes to accomplish with this project.
The Huffington Post: Who are the individuals documented in these photos?
Brian Reda: I had a wonderful response from a wide range of people in the trans and genderqueer community here in the Twin Cities. Each individual represents some part of the gender spectrum.
Why are these photos important? What are you trying to accomplish?
It's really about starting a conversation. We're reaching a tipping point in the discussion of trans-identified people. There's an interest out there and I was really hoping to be a part of that. And because I identify as cisgender, this conversation is able to cross that social boundary of "us and them." The relationships I was fortunate enough to make during this very collaborative project seem to have translated to my audience now. There have been many people telling me they can "feel" that connection. I have the beautiful wet plate collodion process to thank, in part, for that expressive quality. It's like you can see their soul -- such a beautiful photographic process.
Are there any misconceptions you'd like to dispel through this work?
The one glaring misconception is that my subjects, or the trans community in general, are "in between." That's not entirely true. As I said before, gender identity exists on a spectrum. To pinpoint one person to one label is futile and often does a disservice to the community. Granted some may identify as both or neither genders, while many may identify as the opposite of their assigned gender from birth. There are also some who may identify with their assigned gender but just enjoy the social and cultural aspects of the opposite gender. So when I talk about the "in between" I'm actually referencing the interaction between photographer, subject and audience, where each has a different bias and each brings a different set of experiences. It's within that dialogue that my work exists.
Check out a slideshow of images from "Other: Gender" below and head here to see more from Reda.