While these images were shot over a decade ago: May 2009-2010. This work is more important than ever, as the individual human rights of #trans bodies are being attacked, removed and prosecuted.
As someone who now identifies as non-binary, practicing and finding connection through emobodied living. I am exploring what it means to be a body.
Walking the Block is my experience and exploration of one block on Christopher Street, in New York City’s West Village.
In May of 2009, I was a student at The International Center of Photography (ICP) documenting one of the residents of Sylvia’s Place, a trans teenager and their friends. I hadn’t heard from them in a few days, worried I decided to head down to the Christopher Street piers, where I had hung out with them and their friends. We walked by and was immediately memorized by the scene inside and outside Chi Chi’z bar. We stopped, looked around and walked in. Making that decision to walk in, instead of walking by Chi Chi’z changed and became part of my life for the next year. Chi Chi’z bar was one of the only gay bars in NYC frequented by queer people of color.
After that first night, I went back again the next night and the next and pretty much every weekend for the next year. I was welcomed into their community, their family. I became part of the scene; capturing moments.
Through a series of photographs, interviews, and ambient sound collections, I want to give the viewer a look at a disappearing community and block of Christopher Street.
Christopher Street has been a focus in New York Metropolitan LGBT life. It became iconic with the 1969 Stonewall Riots. Fifty years later, today Christopher Street has changed. With more and more of the faces of “the Village” changing from sex shop to high end boutique from queer bar to cafe , I hope it will always be a safe haven for queer people.
All images and sound were captured on Christopher Street from May 2009-2010 on my Nikon F100, with 20mm, 24mm & 28mm fixed lenses and shot on self rolled b/w bulk film.
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