By Jocelyn Johnson
I am not talking about pictures, albeit these days people tend to use the words interchangeably. A photograph can be considered a picture but a picture can also be a drawing or a painting. And throughout this post I will use the slang version of photographs, which is photos.
This post is not about professional photos or portraits, or images of landscapes or structures. I am talking about photos of ourselves.
The word photograph is defined as: “a picture made using a camera, in which an image is focused onto film or other light-sensitive material and then made visible and permanent by chemical treatment, or stored digitally.”
The key word is camera. And during the last 30 years the film camera has been replaced by the digital camera. I believe most of the Kandi’s Land readers were around when using film was the only way to make a photo. You took the photo hoping your focus and light settings were good and after the whole roll of film was used, you took the film to a local store who sent it off to a lab for processing, and back to the local store for you to pick up. The opening of the envelope would reveal what the photos looked like. It was a magical time looking at the photos which were taken days or weeks or months before.
I was a late bloomer to crossdressing, started in my 30s. But the strong desire to see how I looked and to permanently keep a record of that look was overwhelming. A photo of me would mean the people processing the film would see me dressed as a woman; no way! The Polaroid camera solved the problem.
I took many Polaroid photos while I was wearing different outfits. Most were subpar images, but the thrill of the new me was intoxicating. An instant photo reminder of what I looked like was imperative.
All my Polaroid photos were garbaged during the “great purge” in my late 30s.
These days everyone has a digital camera and we all seem obsessed with taking photos.
This is what this post is about: What Is It About Photographs? Why do CD/TG people need to take photos? And for the most part show them to other people. Why?
But first I have to admit that most of the photos I take are self rejected: poor pose, bad lighting, closed eyes, no smile, apparel malfunction, head cut off, legs cut off, etc. Therefore at least nine out of ten photos are deleted.
So, of the acceptable photos, why do I take and keep them:
- to have a permanent record of the event
- to critique how I look
- to show others how I look
- to show off, brag!
- to prove to others I have actually dressed as a woman
- to show the world I am a woman
- to feed my ego
- to feel good about myself
- to remind me of what I have done
- to provide me with a personal history
- to create an adventure and risk
- to educate myself and possibly others
I’m sure each of you have other reasons.
Initially I was so afraid someone might know my secret. Crossdressing was taboo; socially unacceptable. So why would I take a photo and keep it? Also the risk of my spouse discovering it and knowing my hidden life.
I take and keep a photo of my dress wearing because I really like how I look. I’m proud of my beauty, and the photo helps me recall how absolutely wonderful I felt. The makeup, wig, dress, pantyhose, heels and curves. I am fabulous and feminine.
In recent decades anyone can see millions of photos of CDs/TGs on the internet. The sense of community makes us want to share: “look at me”, “me too”. Hopefully we get some positive feedback from people who see us on Flickr, FB, Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, Forums, Websites, etc.
But as a TG woman why do I need to have a photo to “prove” I was out en femme. CIS women don’t take photos every time they go out. I would guess that most CIS women don’t like having their photo taken at all.
I was very wary about showing anyone my female photos. They might expose me to the world and my secret would be out. But as I developed friends in our CD/TG community I shared photos of myself. I was happy to do this for friends. And now on Kandi’s Land I have posted lots of photos of my feminine side.
Each of us probably has a favourite photo that makes us feel so special. That particular photo fills us with great pride and it is a reminder of the inner peace and happiness we felt while it was being taken. Here is my favourite photo of myself. It was taken shortly before a dinner engagement with Kandi. At that moment, my life and appearance seemed perfect. That’s why we take photos of ourselves, sheer joy.
What is your favourite photo of yourself?
I love you all, Jocelyn