Thursday, July 19, 2012

Butch/Femme Photo Project Announcement

I've been thinking about doing this photo project for a few months now. It's taken a bit of thought and I've let it gently brew for those few months, not knowing exactly what it would look like. Over the past week or so, it's become much more clear so I'd like to get started with it.

It could, certainly, morph into something entirely different then what is currently rattling around in my brain. But, for now, these are my thoughts on why I want to do this and what it looks like at the moment.

Over the course of the last few months I've been reading two books that have made quite the impact on me by teaching me a lot about the history of butches and femmes. The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader edited by Joan Nestle and Persistence: All Ways Butch And Femme edited by Ivan E. Coyote and Zena Sharman. Both are anthologies and contain an abundance of incredible writers. I highly recommend getting your hands (and eyes) on these books.

One of the things I've learned from reading these books is that butches and femmes have always been here. We're always going to be here. No matter how much our community fights amongst itself about our presence, we are always going to be here. We are a part of it's history, we are a part of it's present and we are a part of it's future.

There is no one way to be butch or femme. Each one of us is our own unique and individual expression of the identity. Those expressions are what I would like to capture and document for future generations.

Do you identify as butch or femme? If so, would you consider participating in my project by answering some questions via email and allowing me to photograph you? This could turn into a book so you must be comfortable with being a part of our documented history.

At the moment all of the expenses for this are coming out of my pocket so I must keep the traveling to a minimum. I hope to find a way to raise some funds for traveling over the course of this project but in the meantime, if you live anywhere between Eugene, Oregon and Seattle, Washington and would like to participate, please send me an email with your name, the town you live in and whether you identify as butch or femme. My email address is wendikali(at)gmail(dot)com.

I'm so very excited about this project and cannot wait to get started! I hope to hear from you!

Wendi Kali

**UPDATE (7/23/12) - If you live anywhere in the US or Canada and would like to participate in this project, please email me so I can get you on my list of possible places to travel! I have been offered help in getting Kickstarter (or something similar) campaign going to raise funds for travel for this project! I am so excited about this project!

Thanks to everyone who has emailed me already!

14 comments:

  1. I.E.C isnt even Butch, so strange she'd influence you with a project concerning Butch women.

    dirt

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    1. As far as I know, she identifies as butch. This project is about self identification. More importantly, the books I referred to are anthologies that contain many writers and it's within those writings that I found my inspiration.

      Inspiration can come from many places.

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    2. IEC hit on my butch wife. Goodness bless variety!

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  2. I'm in Seattle, I would love to be interviewed!

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    1. Awesome! Thank you! Please send me an email if you haven't already!

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  3. You should start a page on one of those fundraising/start up sites i've heard about on the internet. then people can donate to help get your project off the ground. i'm super femme, but super camera shy, otherwise i'd totally volunteer. i would donate to the cause though for sure.

    Jenna

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  4. this sounds like an awesome project! I really hope you can get it together!

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    1. Thanks! I most definitely will! It's something I'm very passionate about!

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  5. wish you could come to SF or I could get to Seattle!

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    1. I'm doing my best to come up with some travel funds so please email me so I can get you on the list of places I need to travel to! It may be a few months away but I definitely want to make it happen!

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  6. Hey I couldn't get a grasp of what exactly you're trying to capture in the language above? Like jut portraits of burches and femmes wherever you go? Do they need to be partnered with each other? Or is it more recreating what butch and femme may have looked like in past decades. If you have capacity I'd live to hear more. You're right we have always been here and it's awesome you're looking to document our presence

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    1. Thanks! I'm still gaining a lot of clarity around it but basically the project is about documenting Butches and Femmes and their own unique individualness. My perspective is that there is no one way to be butch or femme. My idea for the project is to capture those unique and individual expressions in a series of photos and personal statements. Those photos will be people who are single or partnered and they can have their photos taken together or by themselves.

      At the moment, I have a lot of people on my list who are single Femmes or Butches and a lot of partnered Butch/Femme and Butch/Butch. So it's a mix.

      Our community and our history doesn't seem to have much along the lines of this and it would be great to have more representation.

      At the moment, everything is still developing in my head but I do foresee a book created with these photos and statements. I think that once I start getting answers to the questions I'll be sending out and once I get some photos taken the project will begin to define itself. I'm trying to remain open to that and see where it takes me. I hope that clears it up a little!

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  7. I love that you are looking to capture the essence of the butch femme rather than the stero-typical; that is so awesome! You read my daughter, Victoria's, blog "The Musings of a Lesbian Writer", and she sent me this link. My partner and I are currently living in TN but are heading back to the West Coast next year (to Seattle Washington) and if your project is still going on at that time, we would love to be a part of it; regardless, though, I will look forward to seeing your finished work down the road! Again, awesome project! Best of luck!
    Judi Walters

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    1. Yes! It's the essence, the individual expressions of butch and femme that I'm trying to capture in this project. I love your daughter's blog, by the way, and am so glad she sent you over! Email me so I can put you on my contact list! I may be able to travel to you before you move, but if not I will catch you in Seattle! Thank you so much!

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