In this unfinished series, I have begun to question my emotional proximity to those around me. I have noticed over the past few years that I have a tendency to build distance between myself and others, instead of building closeness. Resulting from this distance, I often experience loneliness, both positively and negatively. I believe that being lonely is not inherently bad: I think it give me the chance to connect with myself. But I also believe that many times when I have felt lonely around other people, it has been because I have felt a lack of connection with them. There is a voice in my head constantly telling me that nobody actually likes me, but that they’re just pretending to out of sheer politeness.
Because of this paranoia, I pay close attention to how people look at me. I have noticed, in particular, that people often comment on my fashion sense. I think about fashion and my clothing choices a lot, because I am fully aware of how my physical appearance shapes how other people see me, especially as a transgender/gender non-conforming person. Clothing becomes an important piece in building emotional closeness and distance as it is both a physical barrier with which we can hide our bodies and a tool for expressing ourselves openly. Expressing myself openly is a struggle, though, because being seen as a “man in a dress” makes me vulnerable to being harassed and violated in public. Being vulnerable, though it has allowed me to build closeness with many people, has also left me feeling lonely in the worst way.
4x5 film photographs and 8x10 contact prints