“Hearts On Our Sleeves” Exhibit at San Jose Transgender Day of Visibility 2017

(Contact me at richard@richardmanphoto.com and follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Medium, and Patreon under richardmanphoto)

In 2016, I started a photography project called “Hearts on Our Sleeves — stories and portraits of transgender people, on large format 4x5 film”. Gender non-binary, or gender-queer people, are also represented in this project.

On April 1st, 2017, I had an inaugural exhibit of the project images with ten 44x55” prints displayed on the outside wall of the Billy DeFrank LBGTQ Center, as part of the San Jose Transgender Day of Visibility event.

Accompanying each photo is a piece of text, derived from the audio interviews I do with the participants. I noticed with the people who looked at the photographs, that most of them took the time to view each photograph carefully and read all the accompanying text. Indeed, with these 10 participants, all 10 have different stories to tell, even though some themes are similar.

For example, a common theme is that most people already knew that they were not being addressed as their correct gender while very young — as young as 4 years old. In most cases, though, most people did not have the opportunity to explore their gender identity and to transition until later in life.

If you talk to the people who were photographed, they are just ordinary folk. They have no “agenda”, other than to live their lives in the skin they are comfortable in. Indeed, my alternative title for the project would be “Ordinary People”, except that there is already a famous movie and the book it’s based on with the same name. In my photos there is a college student, a lawyer, a national park law enforcement officer, a college instructor, and so on. Wearing their hearts on their sleeves, some of them bravely came out, because they know representation matters, especially in the current political climate we are currently in.

There were only 10 prints on the wall because that’s all the photos I had taken for this project prior to the event. The project is ongoing, and if you are interested in participating, please feel free to contact me (richard@richardmanphoto.com). Unless you explicitly give permission to do otherwise, the project will only identify you by first name, or even just by initial, or even a pseudonym is that is most comfortable for you.

I would like to thank my wife (who has helped me in more ways than I can write), people who have supported me in my photography pursuits over the years, my Patreon patrons, and also to Photo Central Hayward, for use of their large format Epson 44” printer, without which this exhibit with large prints would not have been possible, due to the high cost of utilizing commercial printers.

Also, thank you to San Jose mayor Mr. Liccardo, Milpitas mayor Mr. Tran for coming by, and Gabrielle Sydney, Billy DeFrank Center’s board president, for making the introduction.

Lastly, 3 more people joined the project that day, and I look forward to work with more of you in the future.

For more information, please visit http://richardmanphoto.com

On gear note: taken on 4x5 film, even though the negatives were scanned only with a semi-professional Epson V700 flatbed scanner, there is no issues with printing the images at that size. If drum scanned (at much higher cost), the result would be even more spectacular. I use Kodak Portra film (both ISO 160 and ISO 400) and the skin colors render excellently.