For Interval I photographed professional female impersonators – men who perform onstage as women - to explore the idea of gendered behaviour. I wanted to identify a kind of typology of actions that are learned and repeated in ‘real’ life, that constitute the gestures of femininity. I wanted to define just how ‘woman’ is performed.
Although we initially worked with movement clichés, mimicking the overtly sexualised poses of modern cultural imagery, when editing the sessions it was the gentle, delicate gestures, those which appeared to evidence an experiencing of the notion of femininity, that I found most interesting. They seemed to suggest a fluidity between ‘male’ and ‘female’ that rejected binary inscriptions of gender performance, hinting instead at a more subjective involvement, referring back to the individuals habitation of their own body.
In these visually unfinished constructions of ‘woman’, partway through the transformation from male performer to exaggerated female persona, men being women, there exists not only the tension within gender identity, but also between the ideas of the absolute and the archetype, the other and the self.
(This work was first exhibited as MA Photography show at London College of Communication in 2010).