Today I photographed my final portrait for “Eden: Expressions in Gender.” Number thirty was me. In my mind, I had committed to capturing my own nude image in the woods, and the challenge both scared and thrilled me. I planned for today, Wednesday, a day during the week when the woods would not be too full of happy weekend dwellers walking their dogs.
A foggy morning had lifted into a sunny afternoon by the time I got to the forest preserve. This posed some problems for me lighting-wise, but I was determined. It would be easier to find number thirty at the club or amongst a final casting call, and I didn’t want to give myself an “out.” I hiked, scouted for a spot with decent lighting, a darker background of branches, held a dress rehearsal, and then photographed myself. I did a total of seven portraits before I decided that I had had enough of running from the tripod to my perch on the tree branches. The image I chose as my final edit was the very first out of the seven that I photographed.
The past year has been quite a ride for me, and I wanted the portrait to convey my strength and resilience. I wanted an air of confidence without cockiness. I wanted to show me, and I wanted it to be a release at the same time.
I don’t know what my portrait became though. It didn’t make me feel a great change as I captured it. I’m a photographer, and this is what I do. I was just photographing another subject, and I was in the moment. In that regard, I am confident that I captured me exactly as I am in all of my humanity. There was not time or concern to put on a game face. The image is Andy through and through in all of my gendered being.