PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
- Not all trans folk are the same.
- Not all trans folk have the same experiences.
- Not all trans folk are open and willing to talk about their experiences.
Please do not take one person’s experience and apply it to the whole population. Please do not assume that every trans person you meet wants to be outed or wants to talk about their experiences.
This applies for any population, really.
the great bear rainforest in british columbia is one of the largest coastal temperate rain forests in the world, with twenty five thousand square miles of mist shrouded fjords and densely forested islands that are home to black bears with white fur.
neither albino nor polar bear, these rare black bears (there are fewer than five hundred) are known as kermode bears, or what the gitga’at first nation call mooksgm’ol, the spirit bear — a word no first nations person spoke of to european fur traders lest they be discovered and hunted. to this day, it remains taboo to hunt a spirit bear, or to mention them to outsiders.
the white fur in these bears is triggered by a recessive mutation of the same gene associated with red hair and fair skin in humans. though it remains unclear as to how the trait arose (or disappeared), it is especially pronounced on certain islands, and is known to confer a day time fishing advantage over the black furred bears (consider the first photo).
Stop and read this
The Pink Choice
Even though many people seem to be open about homosexuality, it turned out to be untrue when I showed people photos of homosexual couples in intimate moments. Most of them found the photos disgusting and unacceptable. This reaction was a source of inspiration to me. My goal was to make photos about homosexuals that incite feelings of romantic love that is natural and beautiful. I chose to capture casual daily activities of the couples that can be familiar to anyone. By doing so, I hope to make the audience become interested, then gradually empathize with homosexual people.
Many projects/artworks on homosexuality in Vietnam tend to focus on either deviances (especially in movies, with images of homosexuals portrayed in ridiculous clothing and make-up, mincing, shrewish or rude manners…) or symbolic images. In photography, homosexuals are not presented as themselves in pictures. And if they are, they’re usually photographed from behind or with masks on. These all foster weird and absurd images of homosexuals rather then present more understanding perspectives. In turn, homosexuals become even more intimidated and isolated.
The Pink Choice has a different approach as it seeks out personal stories using direct language: documentary photography to capture real moments and real people.
Moreover, stories about homosexuality in Vietnam and also in the world usually end in tragedy, especially in movies. On one hand, this tragic style of storytelling can make audience become more sympathetic and understanding of the difficulties that homosexuals experience. On the other hand, the drama of homosexuals can also cause misunderstandings that lives of homosexuals are vulnerable and regretful, and that the choice to “come out” is an incredible effort against the community’s way of life. The point is, in real life, there are many homosexual people who live happily with their identity. There are homosexual couples who love, nurture and build a happy family life together.
The Pink Choice is a series of photos about the love of homosexual couples which focus on living spaces, the affectionate touches, and more importantly, the synchronized rhythm of lovers sharing life together. Viewers may not feel the personalities of the subjects in the photos, but hopefully they can feel the warmth of their love and caring. In way, I wanted to show what I see of homosexual people and not how they see themselves.
Photographer: Maika Elan