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In honor of
Gilles Peress & Constantine Manes
A sample selection of photos from
Gender Benders from the 1970’s
by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
A limited edition, 8 x 10 inch 50 page hand-printed artist’s book.
Edition size is 50 books and 2 artist’s proof books.
Unisex bathing suits, Tokyo, Japan fashion show 1970
From the Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection
In the 1970’s gender bending was underground. Nowadays it is becoming more mainstream. In modern photography / art circles, the most desirable of this genre seems to be a gender bender photog taking pix of other gender benders.
Intro from book:
I shot most of these photos when I was 17 to 19 years old starting out as a young social documentary photographer. Even though people were my specialty, I never thought much about interviewing my subjects…I was only interested in the picture. If I got one nice photo to put in my portfolio I was happy.
Getting my start in 1970 as a street photographer, for the most part, I had always been uninvolved with my subjects. My goal was to get as close as was needed to get the shot, all the while staying undercover. And nearly 50 years later that is still how I work most of the time.
Staten Island Ferry – NYC 2016
Candid photo from The Americans…60 years after Frank artist’s book
by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
When I eventually ventured inside some of my subjects homes I spent just enough time on location to get a shot I liked. I seldom delved into any details beyond chit-chat.
Being shy by nature, interviewing subjects is not my forte. Consequently I missed many opportunities to explore my subjects much deeper than what I present here. There was one exception to my normal modus operandi, that was Barbara LeMay. I formed a friendship with Barbara and visited her numerous times over a few years. Even with Barbara I did not venture beyond her living room, never seeing her bedroom or sewing studio. These missed opportunities are something I regret. I could have made a number of books just on Barbara alone.
We can learn an important lesson from Josef Koudleka when it comes to maximizing the potential of our photography.
“…What interests me is taking photographs to the maximum – the maximum that exists in a situation and the maximum that I myself can produce from it.” Koudelka goes on to say he will re-shoot a project repeatedly “to reassure me I have in-fact achieved the maximum.” ~ From World Photography by Bryn Campbell
Hollywood, CA 1973 – Babs (Barbara LeMay)
Los Angeles, CA 1974 – Look What I’ve Got!
Hollywood, CA 1974 – His Perfect Woman
Los Angeles, CA 1974 – Artists’ and Model Ball Feathers and Leather
Los Angeles, CA 1974 – Artists’ and Model Ball Two Drag Queens
Los Angeles, CA 1974 – Jennifur
Los Angeles, CA 1974 – Drag Queen at Bar #2
Los Angeles, CA 1974 – Burt’s Devotee Photo is not staged, it is exactly as shown. I just asked him why he liked Burt Reynolds so much. He showed me…I shot it.
Hollywood, CA 1974 – Traveling Transvestite
Hollywood, CA 1974 – Joe
Los Angeles, CA 1971 – Arnold, a U.C.L.A student that liked women’s nighties.
Hollywood, CA 1974 – Joe at Doorway
Along with Gender Benders from the 1970’s I’ve included a DVD of Gone…Up In Smoke! A student film by Daniel D. Teoli Jr. made in 1975 showing Barbara LeMay doing a partial reenactment of the ‘hoochie show’ she performed in the carnival. The film had been lost for 20+ years but was eventually found stored in an outdoor garden shed at my Mom’s house.
Gone…Up In Smoke! was shot on Super 8mm film and was my final exam film for beginning filmmaking class at Los Angeles City College. Unfortunately, when it came time to show the film for my final exam, the film department stopped me from screening it. The teachers said the school would shut down the film department if they allowed me to show it.
Synopsis of Gone…Up In Smoke!
Barbara is shown enjoying her birds. She hears a knock at the door. Richard shows up. She grabs Richard by the collar and tells him to sit down. He makes some advances towards Barbara which she rebuffs. Barbara does a little modeling for Richard. She powders her privates then hits Richard in the face with the puff. Richard has lunch while he watches Barbara model and dance around. After lunch he lights up a cigarette and offers it to Barbara. Barbara tells him she does not smoke, but is willing to smoke it ‘down below.’ The smoking is so intense that when Richard goes in for a close-up inspection he takes in a lung full of smoke. After watching Barbara smoke the cigarette, front and back, Richard is in for a shock and passes out.
If the DVD becomes unavailable, the film can also be viewed at:
An extended preview of still frames can be seen here:
Barbara made all her own costumes and had a side business, sewing costumes for strippers. (These are scans from work prints – the original negatives were lost in the flood.)
Los Angeles, CA 1974 – Artists’ and Model Ball Barbara Lemay
Los Angeles, CA 2015 – Melissa
Fast forward to the present and we can see gender benders have advanced greatly with the technology for transitioning from male to female.
From Girls of the Beat Generation
A forthcoming 6 volume artist’s book series by social documentary photographer Daniel D. Teoli Jr.
A complete list of artist’s books by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.