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:

News

​Trade wars

by C.S. Hagen

NORTH DAKOTA – Jesse Stenson runs his family’s Centennial Farm, following in his great-grandfather’s footsteps. Originally, great-great-grandfather Johanes Stenson Hauge left Norway in 1855, and traveling by ox cart, squatted…

Jan Syversonstandupjan@gmail.comThree hundred miles northwest of Fargo, ND I find myself at the back of a small bar in a small town surrounded by nothing but snowy fields and darkness. I take a drag of a cigarette and go through my…

July 14-15Fort Ransom, State Park, Fort Ransom, NDA true testament to horsepower. Wheelwright demo with Fargo’s own Mike Kolesar, horse powered threshing and haying demos, demos of traditional arts and crafts and insights to…

One of three Red State Democratic U.S. Senators up for reelection this November, North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp is no doubt in the national spotlight.That President Trump has nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Court of Appeals…

Can It Happen Here?So it has finally come to this. From the normal of a century to the abnormal of the last 30 months, we are at each other’s throats. We represent either the “looney left” or the “righteous right.”…

FARGO - A collection of memories from High Plains Reader's annual Cocktail Showdown. Participants were judged on creativity, flavor, and presentation; and this year we added a new category. Like years before, each establishment was…

All About Food

​Food truck fever

by HPR Contributor

By Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.comHave you all been to Taco Brothers Taco Truck yet? Or how about Poke Bowl Food Truck? Have you tried the Walleye Wrap at Chef Mobile? There may have been a few mobile food establishments in decades…

Music

​Soul Man

by Sabrina Hornung

Saint Paul and the Broken Bones is known for their distinct R&B sound, with Paul Janeway’s soulful voice and powerful backing band, he exudes emotion--a true showman. He dresses the part and dominates the stage with an almost…

Boots Riley hallucinates a wildly funny feature debut with “Sorry to Bother You,” a sharp-fanged social satire that mashes up the innovative handmade aesthetics of Michel Gondry with the fierce truth-to-power consciousness of…

Arts

Dan Mihuta: The Art Maker

by HPR Contributor

By Rod Hadland rodanthonyhadland@gmail.comThe name Mr. Mihuta may not be familiar, but for most of my life, I’ve known that name. There was a television show where Mr. Mihuta taught art projects, in various mediums, that I…

Theatre

Xanadu: The Musical

by HPR Contributor

By Tayler Klimektklimek@cord.eduGet ready to dive into a world full of demi-gods, mythological creatures, and plenty of disco balls when you see Fargo-Moorhead Community Theater’s exciting first show of its 72nd season:…

Fargo has its share of people who are passionate about stand-up comedy, even if the success of clubs devoted to it has been mixed. Despite the fact we have seen places like Courtney’s Comedy Club and Level 2 Comedy Club close…

By Ben Myhrebenmyhre35@gmail.comHow lucky we are in the FM area that we have so many craft breweries, but did you know that we also have two cider houses? Cottonwood Cider House is one of those cider houses and is just a short…

Best Local CelebrityCarson WentzBest Stylist / BarberJed Felix, Everett’s BarbershopBest Salon / Barber ShopEverett’s BarbershopBest Tattoo Parlor46 & 2 TattooBest Tattoo ArtistMeg Felix, No Coast TattooBest Gift ShopZandbroz…

By Melissa Martinmelissamartincounselor@live.comThink back to one of your worst small decisions. Then answer the following questions:How did you make the decision?What happened after the decision?When did you know it was the worst…

By Gary Olsonolsong@moravian.edu Recognition of the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.- The United Nations…