Reinas del Sur

At the same time as we have had the recent off again on again situation with the Canadian Miss Universe contestant, who began life a different gender, we have a photo exhibition through May 6th at the Museo Arqueologica in the Chamizal entitled: Reinas, espacios y realidades en la Mujer Transgenero.
Photographer Olga Nayeli Cortes here gives us straight forward portraits of a series of transgendered women in Juarez done with obvious love and respect.  Although a few place the subject in a setting, either an apartment or other location, the majority are either facial close-ups or full  portrait. The photos are well made and, as I said, are made with respect, but what is missing here is context.
Viewing these portraits makes one want to know more about who these various women are. What one wants is for these photos to be either part of a larger installation with perhaps video, or perhaps  a book with stories, quotes, and more information to let us know more about not only who these individual women are, but an account of how the transgendered community fits into the larger multilayed complex world of Juarez.
Short of that we are verging on a sort of tourism, which is the last thing in the world which the photographer wants, but with more information the photos would lend reality to the life stories, and the life stories would lend depth to the stories.
The reality of this part of the Juarez community is an important one, and this is a good start in making it known, but it seems a first step in what should be a larger enterprise exploring this world.-david Sokolec

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