Portraits of One Person as Two Genders By David Rosenberg
The Montreal-based photographer JJ Levine has been photographing the trans and queer communities since 2006. His portraiture work includes series that are personal and intimate and others that challenge the ways in which sexuality and the gender binary play out in contemporary society.
For the series “Alone Time,” Levine recreated and photographed typical domestic environments that play with gender stereotypes. As a twist, he used only one model to play both the male and female characters in the image. The result, Levine said, “challenges the normative idea that gender presentation is stable or constant. Rather, gender expression can be fluid and multiple.”
Each image was shot at the home of the model, often one of Levine’s friends. Levine set up lights, rearranged furniture, and styled the model as both male and female. Each shot took upward of a day to finish and was shot on film. Negatives were then processed and scanned, followed by a lengthy layering and collage process.
Although hair and curves would be added or removed during the shoot, Levine doesn’t digitally alter anything gender-related in post-production. “The images are successful because they are visually convincing without manipulation of the subjects’ gender markers through means other than makeup, costume, and pose,” he said.