Jeff Sheng

Photoshoot with Claudia Charriez

Filed By Jeff Sheng | April 28, 2009 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Claudia Charriez, fashion sense, images, Jeff Sheng Studios, photo shoot, transgender

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I have to first apologize for not posting in awhile, especially since some of you have been anxiously waiting on this post for some time already since it involves pictures of the incredibly beautiful model Claudia Charriez.

A little over a month ago, my assistant Kara told me that Claudia Charriez contacted my studio and wanted to do a test shoot with us for her working portfolio. I was incredibly excited about this and just assumed that Kara, who is also a trans-identified woman of color, used her personal connections to arrange this opportunity. I found out later however that the two of them didn't know each other at all and had never met, and when I asked Kara if Claudia even knew about her trans-identity, Kara laughed and said, "Probably not."

The photoshoot we did was amazing. Claudia was an unbelievable joy to work with, hitting every pose, look, body gesture, and facial expression that a photographer would want. For those of you who don't know who Claudia is, it's best that you just Google her name for more information, since I don't really want to rehash her experiences on Tyra's America's Next Top Model and Janice Dickenson's Modeling Agency reality shows. And to be honest, during the entire 3-hour long photoshoot with her, we didn't even mention these events... I personally just got the feeling that she wanted to move on from her reality show life and just make it now as a professional model without having to talk about these past experiences that highlighted and exposed her trans-identity in a very confrontational and unethical way.

The photoshoot did make me think a bit about the idea of when our identities are used to single many of us out, and in many ways, don't we all just want to be treated as who we are, without special consideration to the letters LGBTQI that make up only a portion of our identity? I realized that on the campus where I teach, if my students always referred to me as the gay professor, even if it was done without bad intentions, I would take issue with it. Similarly, I look at the photos that I took of Claudia recently, and I realize that she is simply stunning as a female model - nothing more needs to really be said about this.

My studio has another photoshoot with her soon so stay posted on those pics. Again, I apologize for the delay in this post. It took longer than expected in getting these pictures done because we wanted to use Claudia's selection, and the editing process for this took longer than expected. Thanks for being patient!

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The photoshoot did make me think a bit about the idea of when our identities are used to single many of us out, and in many ways, don't we all just want to be treated as who we are, without special consideration to the letters LGBTQI that make up only a portion of our identity? I realized that on the campus where I teach, if my students always referred to me as the gay professor, even if it was done without bad intentions, I would take issue with it.

I think you hit the nail on the head about one major reason why "being out and proud" is different for trans people than it is for cisgender LGB people. We're pretty much always seen as trans people, not just plain old "people."* Even those of us who aren't transitioning transsexuals -- look at Eddie Izzard, one of the few publicly out crossdressers. In news stories he's always referred to as "transvestite comedian Eddie Izzard," never just "comedian Eddie Izzard."

Personally, I'd hope that my being someone who crossdresses and performs as a drag queen is the third or fourth most interesting thing people think about me. But I'm not holding my breath.

* Yes some trans people want to be "visibly trans" as genderqueers or to engage in genderfucking, but my experience is the vast majority of trans people want to be seen and treated as their desired gender. FWIW, it's also true of bigendered people like myself, i.e. when I'm presenting myself to the world as a woman, I'd like to be seen and treated as one, even if I also present myself to the world as a man most of the time. (Drag is a somewhat different dynamic since it generally is a bit of an overtly "third gender" thing -- though the vast majority of queens and kings I know do prefer to be referred to and treated consistently with the gender they're presenting as, even if everyone knows that gender is different than their physical body.)


Beautiful photos! I love the sense of flow that is in so many of them.

Simply beautiful. I really like the one with the veil. It's my favorite. You really captured a moment in time with that shot, Jeff. Stunning.

These are great photos.

I understand about the difference between SO and GI when it comes to outness. A few weeks ago I went to a pleasant little LGBT ceremony for a few hundred people. One woman who sat in front of me was rather obviously trans, and we talked about cameras since she said she carries her around everywhere in case she sees any stars (I love it!).

Anyway, one of the speakers was talking about "gay and lesbian" this and "gay and lesbian" that, and then he said, out of the blue, something like "and transsexual too." He took a long pause and pointed at this lady, and she was mortified and gave him a little nod. It turns out she didn't know him, she was just the only visibly trans person in the first few rows.

Anyway, there's also something to be said about the message photos like these send to people just coming to terms with their transsexuality. While you might not want to be the "gay professor," I'm also thinking that it's good for some students who haven't come out to know that, contrary to what they may have heard, being gay doesn't ruin their lives.

How exactly does one look *obviously* trans Alex?

Having not watched either of those reality shows, I thought Claudia was just a stunningly beautiful woman, and since she was featured in the Bilerico Report, perhaps a Lesbian... If I hadn't read the article, I would never have known. Shame on Tyra and Angie... What a stunner!

Good grief, she's gorgeous. The pictures are stunning. If I could settle down for the rest of my life with someone half as beautiful as she is, I'd live a happy man.

Bravo Jeff, U have captured such ravishing and opulent shots. Claudia is a stunner and is wonderful in front of the camera. Great hair, makeup, styled, propped and lit- a treat for all of us... ;)