Everyone in the world has an identity. With identities, we tend to want to give them a strict definition without recognizing that we are constantly redefining ourselves and those identities as we grow and evolve.
Within the LGBTQI community there are many identities. Among them are Butch and Femme. Both identities date back to the beginning of the 20th century and, for the most part, are part of the lesbian and bisexual sub-culture. Both have taken on many definitions and in claiming either identity, each person has their own definition and reason for doing so.
From the research I've done, I've discovered that there are many photos depicting those identities from the 50's and 60's, a few from the 70's and even fewer from the 80's and 90's. With this photo project I wish to build upon the history of Butch and Femme by adding photos of the people who claim those identities today. I hope to show how the identities have evolved by photographing the many unique and individual expressions of them.
The inspiration for this project comes from many different places but it mainly comes from my decision to finally claim the identity of Butch and the research I've done on the history of the identity within the lesbian community. In looking for photographs of women with which I can relate and identify with in the present day, I've had very little luck.
For most of my life I've looked to books to learn the ways of the world and to find myself. Two books that inspired this project the most are The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader edited by Joan Nestle and Persistence: All Ways Butch And Femme edited by Ivan E. Coyote and Zena Sharman. Both are anthologies that contain an abundance of incredible writers. Their words paint the story of not only how these identities came about but also how they've remained a part of the community, how they are perceived today and what they might look like.
The books that I haven't been able to find are the books with the photos of Butches and Femmes with which I can identify in the present day. I hope to fill that gap with this project by creating a book with the photographs and words I collect throughout 2013.
The funds raised from this Kickstarter campaign will help me travel across the country during 2013 photographing as many Butches and Femmes as I possibly can. By the end of 2014 I will have created the Butch/Femme Photo Project book complete with photographs and personal statements from each participant. A book for future generations to look through and find others like them.
As with every fundraising campaign, every little bit helps. This project will cost this and more to move through to completion so what ever amount you can contribute will help tremendously!
Remember, this is an all or nothing deal so please help to push this project forward by sharing it with everyone you know!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart,
See more photographs, personal words from participants and follow along with the project through the link below!
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