PHOTOGRAPHY BY GEORGIA GLENNON
INTERVIEW BY MICHAEL WILLIAMS
Sayulita, Mexico, based photographer Georgia Glennon shares an exclusive series of images from her series of photographs of transgender people from Mexico, Canada, and the United States. Georgia’s images capture the humanity and “everydayness” of members of the trans community.
“Transgender people are just people; they have jobs, families all that normal stuff. I guess I really just want to portray who that person standing right in front of me truly is, what it is that makes them, them.”
(Interview follows the photo essay below)
Alex. Sayulita, Mexico.
Marisol. Sayulita, Mexico.
Marisol. Sayulita, Mexico.
Andrea. Paris, France.
Danielle. New York City.
Gislenne. Mexico City, Mexico.
Twiz and Tuck. Brooklyn, New York.
Albert. New York City.
Kaleb. Toronto, Canada.
Danielle and Araya. New York City.
Tiq Milan. Brooklyn, New York.
Miranda. New York City.
Derek and Miranda. New York City.
Aidan. Sayulita, Mexico.
Quay. Sayulita, Mexico.
Quay. Portland Oregon.
Quay. Sayulita, Mexico.
Kimi Cole. Minden, Nevada.
Penelope. Brooklyn, New York.
James. Punta Mita, Mexico.
Ting. New York City.
Daniela. Mexico, City, Mexico.
Taylor and Tyler. Portland, Oregon.
Ricardo. Mexico City, Mexico.
Taylor. Portland, Oregon.
Imagista: Your project is called ‘Nosotros’, could you expand on that? What does the word mean and how does it relate to your subject matter?
Georgia Glennon: ‘Nosotros’ means “us” or “we” in Spanish and to me that also immediately implies “togetherness”. I guess you can say that ‘Nosotros’ captures what I would like to see more of in the world. We’re all different yet the same. Transgender people simply want to live life as the gender that they identify as. In a way that’s very simple…or at least, it should be.
Imagista: What was your inspiration behind this project?
Georgia Glennon: My friend, Alex, was my inspiration. I live in Mexico in a small town on the Pacific Coast called Sayulita. Alex is the only trans man in Sayulita, and actually at the time, the first transgender man that I had met. I knew I wanted to photograph him. I was amazed by his courage to transition in such a machismo culture…but I wasn’t sure the best or right way to approach him.
Imagista: When did you start working on your transgender photo series?
Georgia Glennon: It all really began with Alex three years ago. I didn’t know him well at the time and I mean how do you just walk up to someone and say, “Hey, I think you’re cool and very brave, can I photograph you?” I brainstormed for a month or so. And in the end it was so simple. I was walking my dogs and there he was! I walked up to him and just asked…Sometimes that’s the best way, not overthinking everything. An hour later I photographed him for the first time – and that was the beginning of ‘Nosotros’. The response to those initial three images on Instagram blew me away and I knew I had come across something really special.
Imagista: What are your observations on being transgender in Sayulita compared to other parts of the world?
Georgia Glennon: There are many transgender girls here, I think because Sayulita is the kind of place where everyone is accepted, in that way it’s very open, and such an easy place to be free, to be yourself. Perhaps especially if you think of other places in Mexico, where this is not as easy. A few of my trans friends grew up in Sayulita and I knew them pre-transition and they just knew that they didn’t fit the gender that they were assigned at birth so they just started being their true selves.
In big cities like Mexico City or New York, there are a lot more trans people because of that there are more resources to help guide them through their transitions and of course a lot of activism. Many of them are on Instagram, it is such a viable platform for trans people. You can take it to whatever level of interaction you feel comfortable with.
Imagista: Which brings me to my next question, how do you choose your subjects, and what is the process between subject and photographer (you)?
Georgia Glennon: Good question. In Sayulita, I’ve approached strangers on the street and photographed them literally minutes after (she laughs). The majority, however, I have met either on Instagram or by word of mouth. Trans people approach me too, wanting their pictures taken. Many want to be role models and advocates for others who are thinking of transitioning or simply wanting to educate others who may not know much about trans people.
The process happens organically and every subject is different. I always ask them to choose the location, because I want it to be a representation of them. Transgender people are just people; they have jobs, families all that normal stuff. I guess I really just want to portray who that person standing right in front of me truly is, what it is that makes them, them. Some men wear dresses and makeup and some don’t and that’s just how it is. I love the freedom of expression, that everyone is themselves, I think it’s about time to move beyond stereotypes. Really, they just don’t make any sense, right?
Imagista: What are your plans for ‘Nosotros’ – what would you like to see happen next?
Georgia Glennon: Well obviously I want my photos to be seen and the stories of my subjects to be heard. I am working on a book that will be their photographs along with their stories. I would also love to see the images in a gallery – I want them to be huge, like larger than life! I have made some lifetime friendships that I cherish so much. These people have gone through a lot and their stories are all so unique. So yes, that’s definitely in the pipeline, a gallery show and an art book. I am so inspired by the lives and courage of the people in this project and all transgender people. There are so many people that I have yet to photograph and hear their stories.
Imagista: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Georgia Glennon: I wish for us all to be authentic at all times. That’s it, just be yourself whatever that means. We need to create a world where being ourselves is not just accepted but encouraged.