Growing up as a queer kid in Montreal, Canada, Laurence Philomene
looked to the vibrant artistic communities online for inspiration and connection. "We’d log on after school and spend evenings chatting about photography, films, and coming up with new ideas," they recall. "When I was 13, I became obsessed with a group of photographers taking pictures of vintage Blythe dolls, and I started collecting and photographing them myself." Over time, photographing dolls gave way to photographing friends and Philomene themself. Now, Philomene takes daily self-portraits for a project called Puberty
, documenting their experience on hormone replacement therapy. "When I first started my transition I felt scared to talk about it online, but once I did it was liberating," Philomene remembers. "I get feedback that it’s really helpful for others to see the things that I’m going through, and that’s what it’s all about. The whole point of my work is to humanize trans existence, because even though our existence is marginalized, at the end of the day, we’re all human and our day-to-day looks no different." Philomene has decided to extend the project into 2020, hoping to see it flourish into published and performance-based iterations, too.