Above: Shayne, Oliver, Alex, and Julian
Jean-Francois Bouchard knows that there are immediate places people's where minds may jump when they learn his latest photography project, Transpose, is a collection of shirtless trans men.
But for the Montreal-based artist, the exposed body is all about his subjects' vulnerable humanity, and not in any way about prurient details about body shapes or medical histories.
"I didn't want this to be sexual or shocking," he explained in a recent interivew with Canada'sNational Post. "I wanted this to be about the personal stories. I could have shot this in a far more shocking way -- scars, things like that. But I didn't want to take over the personal stories that are more important."
Fittingly, the spare, deceptively powerful portraits are accompanied by personal statements from his subjects, a diverse group of young and middle-aged trans men with whom Bouchard, a cisgender (nontrans) man, worked after three years of research. A statement by subject Alex reads simply, "[My] tattoo means strong because you have to be. Five and a half years of weekly injections, two surgeries, and I now finally feel comfortable in my body."
As the video below shows, the portraits themselves are human-size, inviting the viewer to relate to them person-to-person, lean in, and perhaps, as Bouchard hopes, begin to understand that each person's truth is "more than meets the eye."
See more from Transpose, now on display at Montreal's Arsenal Contemporary Art, below.
See a gallery of photos by Jean-Francois Bouchard on the following pages >>>