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Photographer Mark Seliger captures the color, flamboyant characters, and theatre of a famous, but vanishing neighborhood

in Books/Photography/Sexuality

Mark Seliger: On Christopher Street: Transgender Stories

These are our streets, and these are our people!

Photographer Mark Seliger has called New York City’s West Village home for nearly two decades. For his latest book his curiosity inspired him to shoot a handful of portraits — documentary style — in hopes of capturing the color, flamboyant characters, and theater of a famous, but vanishing neighborhood. What he discovered was a nightly carnival of personalities that open up the visual discourse about sexuality and the constant ebb and flow of the transgender world we all inhabit today. The end result is a collection of 74 beautiful, never-before-published black and white portraits, all taken with his Hasselblad camera. These portraits of trans people combined with their moving and deeply personal stories remind us of our need for sanctuary, for a space to call our own. Their presence challenges us to redefine home, community, and ownership — to stop and reflect. No longer will we remain idle and pass by them in fear and prejudice. We will stand with them, recognize them, and see them.

I’ve always been intrigued by the life and theater of Christopher Street. More recently, I’ve noticed it vanishing. My interest in photo documentary led to the building of a series of portraits, which led to three summers of shooting. At first I didn’t even realize I was shooting trans stories, just stories of people who found their way to Christopher Street. As I began to talk about this project, I realize that everybody has a trans story, that being trans is something that affects all of us. — Mark Seliger

Mark Seliger: On Christopher Street: Transgender Stories is available from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk

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