Exploring the motivations, modes and morality of the photography of transgender people in South and Southeast Asia

Ramesh, Ramakrishnan (2018) Exploring the motivations, modes and morality of the photography of transgender people in South and Southeast Asia. Masters thesis, LASALLE College of the Arts.

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Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Title: Exploring the motivations, modes and morality of the photography of transgender people in South and Southeast Asia
Synopsis:

Around the world, values and conceptions about gender, sexuality and identity are changing rapidly, accompanied by a growing sense of acceptance and understanding of issues related to LGBTQ communities. Historically, despite the visible presence of the transgender community in countries like India and Thailand, hijras and kathoeys of these nations have still been marginalised. Living in secretive communities, doing sex work and being part of a unique subculture has marked the lives of these people. However, the truth is that transgender people have made significant contributions to the communities they live in. The uniqueness of changing one’s gender and identity has been a subject of curious examination and artistic inquiry for photographers, artists and sociologists alike. Photography, cinema and visual imagery is playing a key role in facilitating positive changes in perception and reconciling these differences in gender and sexuality.
In this thesis, I investigate specifically the motivations, modes and morality of the photography and photographers of transgender people, using a case-study approach focused on transfemale photography in India, Thailand and Singapore. I examine the work of select Asian photographers—Dayanita Singh, Soham Gupta, Manit Sriwanichpoom, Sean Leel within the larger universe of LGBTQ photography as well as and the socio-political and historical discourse of their respective countries. I compare and contrast them with the work of internationally acclaimed Western photographers— including Nan Goldin, Mariette Pathy Allen and Diane Arbus—who work in the same field. Within each case study, I examine the key motivations of the photographers and delve into the methods, modes and roles played by them.
Crucially, this thesis will examine the morality and justice of the photography of the transgender people, locating the question of ethics within the socio-cultural milieu and respecting the differences between countries. In this day and age of gender fluidity, gender biases and phobias, it is important that these moral issues are analysed and understood in context. I will also attempt to create a model—the #3M (motivations, modes and morality)—that can be applied to other countries and situations. Ultimately, this thesis looks at the role of photography and the photographer in exposing aspects of the transgender individual and subculture to the world.

Subjects: Art History
Art History > Southeast Asian Art
Divisions: Faculty of Fine Arts > Master - Asian Art Histories
Depositing User: Ms Ashalatha Krishnan
Date Deposited: 13 May 2019 04:06
Last Modified: 13 May 2019 04:06
URI: http://drlib.lasalle.edu.sg/id/eprint/579
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