This Trans Photographer Chronicled His Own Transition

Photo Courtesy of Wynne Neilly.
This story was originally published on August 7, 2014.

A prominent photographer based in Toronto, Wynne Neilly has always preferred to work with portraits. Specifically, his photos attempt to raise questions about gender identity, individuality, and process. So, when Neilly began hormone therapy during his own gender transition, it made sense that he would begin a new, much more personal series.
What resulted was Female to ‘Male,’ a series of weekly, staged self-portraits. In them, Neilly stands against a blank wall; he's shirtless and gazing directly into the camera. Though Neilly has photographed other trans people in the past, he wanted to give his viewers a more nuanced, intimate look at the process of transitioning. The more personal benefits of the series came when Neilly realized how easily he could track his progress just by looking back through the weekly images.
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Although the photos are already on display, Neilly maintains that nothing about his work or his transition has concluded. Instead, these photos are meant to show only a moment in his life — not a finite experience. Click through to see Neilly's work and learn more about his process.
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Photo Courtesy of Wynne Neilly.
"From day to day, it's hard to notice changes...because they happen so gradually... Each time I take a new photograph, I compare it to the other ones taken earlier, [which] makes me analyze the obvious changes and the more subtle changes. And, it also makes me keep a constant log of my past self in my head."
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Photo Courtesy of Wynne Neilly.
"I knew that I needed to document this process for myself, to keep track of everything that was happening to me... In the first few months of this project, I found myself relying on these portraits as proof...that things were happening."
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Photo Courtesy of Wynne Neilly.
"Sometimes, I look at the photos and am just in awe of how different I am now."
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Photo Courtesy of Wynne Neilly.
"My goal [with my art] is to add to the representation of trans bodies and experiences that exist in our society."
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