Tracker Pixel for Entry

TransNodak: a transgender photography series

by Faye Seidler | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Culture | August 2nd, 2017

TransNodak is a Transgender Photograph Series put together by Beverly Poppe and features 12 transgender individuals from North Dakota. The exhibit has free admission and can be viewed from August 6, 1:30 to 3:30pm, at The Rourke Art Museum, on 521 Main Avenue, in Moorhead Minnesota.

I don’t personally have an eye for art but I am featured in this project, and will vouch for it being empowering, rather than exploitative. Our state rarely allows trans individuals to tell their own stories without condensing it into a convenient, often partisan political narrative. The value in this piece is in standing proud and saying we exist, even in North Dakota, and no legislation is going to change that. But let’s ask the artist herself!

HPR: What inspired the TransNodak Project?

Beverly Poppe: I saw that trans people were potentially losing their civil liberties and rights as U.S. citizens, either from things like North Carolina‘s HB2 legislation or President Trump’s proposed trans military ban.

I saw that other artists were fighting for equal rights for trans people through creative expression and I wanted to do the same. I was inspired by works like Amos Mac’s photography series “#KindComments,” and Zackary Drucker, “Collaboration,” and “Original Plumbing.”

I made my project about North Dakota, the place I live now, because this is a hard state for transgender people to live in. Many trans people here don’t have a voice, so I wanted to meet with them and allow their stories to be told through my creative process.

HPR: What was your call to photography?

BP: I always felt a very strong connection to photography, but it started to really blossom when I got a disposable camera from my parents when I was ten. I found that I loved photographing everything from friends, family members, and nature, to random inanimate objects around the house. I got my friends and sisters to help me stylize photo shoots and I’d never go to a social gathering without my camera.

In high school I was on the yearbook committee and was head photographer for the school newspaper. In 2001 I moved to California to go to a photography school where I received my BFA in commercial/advertising photography. In college I found I loved the entire process, post- and pre-production, B&W film printing and processing, digital photography. I have always felt fortunate that I knew at a young age what I wanted to do and today I am still doing it.

HPR: What are some of the things you’ve learned while undertaking this project?

BP: The biggest is that trans people just want to be treated and respected like everyone else in the world. They just want to be equal and not have to live in fear because of their gender.

When I first sent emails out to meet with several individuals many concepts for this project were going through my mind. After speaking with my participants, I quickly learned that each person wanted to be photographed “as is.” No props, hair stylists, makeup, or retouching. This all seemed so natural and true to me, something I was not used to in the commercial photography world.

At each photo shoot I immediately could tell how powerful the images were on their own. I didn’t need all that extra post and pre production.

HPR: Could you tell us a little about the process used for TransNodak?

BP: As an artist, process is probably my favorite part of what I do. TransNodak is a mix of several types of mediums: photography, graphic design, text, metals, and printmaking.

A simple photograph can be extremely powerful but I wanted this series to have more of an impact and tell each individual’s story. I decided to incorporate text to highlight the importance of transgender issues, because words are powerful. To me, a big part of what makes this series strong is the text used in the artwork.

Each piece consists of the participant’s photograph. Down the center of the image is digitally composited text displaying the date of when each individual started to “live their truth,” and placed over each face is the pronoun that each individual identifies with. The pronoun text is very small type and you have to look very close to see it.

Once the composition was complete I printed the image on a color negative transparency, which was then transferred onto an aged tin plate. I loved the idea of mixing new photography techniques with an old process called tintypes. I believe the combinations of all these steps really makes each piece individually unique.

HPR: What do you hope people will take away from this project?

BP: My hope is to spread awareness and visibility, and to give trans people a platform to express themselves. Many transgender individuals live in fear and experience harassment as part of their daily lives. I hope this project helps to inspire change and contributes to ending the fear trans people currently live in.

I also hope each individual in this series sees in themselves the unbelievable strength, courage, and beauty that I saw while photographing this series. Often in life being true to oneself is the hardest thing to do.

IF YOU GO

Public opening, artist reception

Beverly Poppe, ‘The TransNoDak Project’

Sunday, August 6, 1:30-3:30

The Rourke Museum, 521 Main Ave, Moorhead

218-236-8861; www.therourke.org

Recently in:

MOORHEAD – The original day set for a white supremacist rally came and went without so much as a whimper from local hate groups.Multiple protests originally planned as counter rallies merged into one rally, which took place…

This is some of the basic computer technical information you have to know to be comfortable around Windows computers.Long ago and far away, someone thought up some very basic definitions of computer files -- you know, the things…

Thursday, October 19, 5:30-7:30Revland Gallery, 6 Broadway FargoIn celebration of her 80th birthday and 35 years of public service in the ND House and Senate, as well as on the Fargo School Board. Wine, beers, hors d’oeuvres, and…

Editorial

That’s all folk

by Sabrina Hornung

Our opinion: Folk art as a connector and a hard goodbyeLast week my friend Molly Mclain and I started a rosemaling apprenticeship through the Folkart and traditional Art Apprenticeship program, through the NDCA under master painter…

I’m a white son-of-a-bitch who will always take a knee for M/Sgt McNairIn 1938 I entered First Grade in District 54 in Morrison County, Minnesota, a little white country school with a total of 23 students in eight grades and two…

The moment of truth has arrived. After seven weeks of sampling and judging some of the finest libations in the area the results for this year’s Cocktail Showdown have arrived. Christopher Larson, Raul Gomez and Sabrina Hornung…

The Fergus Falls State Hospital (FFSH) ran a glorified commune. They were committed to sustainability long before the hippies of yore and the farm-to-table free-range folks of today. The hospital was self-sustaining, as both…

Music

​Maximum Carnage

by Jacinta Macheel Zens

Carnage the Executioner on beatboxing, sampling and loopingHPR: How long have you been beatboxing?Carnage: I studied boxing when I was somewhere between eight and ten years old. There was this one group back in the days called the…

Over the last several weeks, the Concordia Orchestra has been preparing for the challengeSince Mary Shelley first published her Gothic horror novel in 1818, “Frankenstein” has been read by millions. The classic tale of an…

The Plains Art Museum, the Rourke Art Museum, NDSU, the Red Door Art Gallery (Wahpeton, ND) and the Fargo Theatre have teamed up to bring Fritz Fest, a three-day event, celebrating the life and work of influential 2oth century…

The F-M Community Theatre summarized the story: “Tony Wendice has married his wife, Margot, for her money and now plans to murder her for the same reason. He arranges the perfect murder. He blackmails a scoundrel he used to know…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Dipping into your cellar to pull out a special bottle is something that used to be fairly exclusive, wine connoisseurs only. These days, cellaring is gaining more and more traction among hardcore craft beer consumers, who continue…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

Last Word

Aunt Deloris

by Jim Fuglie

Deloris Boehmer is my last living aunt. She’s the only remaining member of my parents’ generation in our family. She’s 88, and lives in Edmore, North Dakota, about 40 miles northeast of Devils Lake. She’s got a pretty nice…