In ‘Tender Resistance’ photographer Anthon Zeiss Smith explores the definitions of transgender and genderqueer outside of the context of binary social structures, and how different levels of power exist within these realms.
“These collaborations are part of my ongoing exploration of the power of vulnerability, tenderness, and emotionality, and the ways that transgender and genderqueer people find strength outside of normative societal ideas of power. We speak with our bodies to the power of connection, and the strength it takes to be truly vulnerable. We abandon constructs for our own power. There is clarity in this shift of perspective. Through our queerness we find the spaciousness to discover more abundant ways of being. The freedom to evolve, to keep creating someone more beautiful than before, to subvert what we once held for something more genuine.
Just before Covid-19, I traveled to India to meet with Shruti in Mumbai, and Xen in Gangtok, after months of conversation about vulnerability as strength in the context of being genderqueer. Subsequently, I met Subu on the street in Darjeeling, the welcome byproduct of being visibly transgender in the world. In each instance, we spent days together expressing our experiences, and connecting deeply around power and strength based in vulnerability, and tenderness as a means of resistance, as we captured these moments.
These photographs give a glimpse into our experiences: the feeling of being seen in the context of authenticity and rawness. We express these forms of tenderness and emotionality as radical tactics in a violent world that views vulnerability as weakness. Together we create and capture emboldened, wordless moments – characterized by a kind of open-ended intimacy suspended uniquely in time.” – Anthon Zeiss Smith
Photographer: Anthon Zeiss Smith @anthondsmith
Shruti Viswan @shrutiviswan
Xen Aerat @xen.aerat
Subu Dewan – @subu_dewan06