I worked on Jacques Cabaret 2007 for three months. During my shooting time, I was often referred to as a Ninja photographer. I was afforded the opportunity to get to know the queens and people at Jacques Cabaret, not just as subjects but also as individuals. On my first day approaching these entertainers in 2007, I asked them if I could photograph them. Mizery looked me over from the top of my head to my shoes from her dressing room and said “sure, rule with me is no photos while I am changing down there” and winked.
Since then I have garnered that each had a story and history. I feel grateful to have shared in the intimate details of their lives, through photography and intrapersonal relationships.
Jojo, the cross dressing waiter was getting married to a long term girlfriend: Destiny, one of the drag performers, always took very little to get ready for the show, compared to others due to having had sex change operation. Miss. Kris worked as a large size man’s cloth store as a day job. When meeting Dahlia Black’s ex girl friend (remain her best friend after coming out), she smiled and said, “ if I was a straight boy, we would probably have been married with a couple kids by now.”
I returned to photograph “Drag Queen 2011” at Jacques Cabaret last March right after the disaster in Japan. I changed my stance as a photographer. Rather than seek to minimalize my own presence as in the past (like a “fly on the wall”), I consciously acknowledged it this time. In 2006 I was afraid of everything. I feared that by being there it would have change the group dynamics of the environment and I would have ruined my “documentary photographs”. I realize now that “I” have to be there to make a picture. My involvement with these individuals allows an entirely new perspective. I look for color, contrast, shapes, and enjoy putting my Jacques’s experiences into photographs.
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