Und wenn sie "eine feste Form angenommen haben" - Die Tranz Portraits Del LaGrace Volcanos

  • Josch Hoenes


And when they “have firmly taken shape” - Del LaGrace Volcano’s Tranz Portraits

Del LaGrace Volcano’s photographic series Tranz Portraits seems to prove the evident masculinities of transsexual/transgendered men. But if they do, can they still be read as queer, or rather, do they reproduce ideas of a heteronormative binary gender system? This article explores the critical impact of Volcano’s portraits. Current debates in queer theory critique the ways in which visual articulations of queerness are imposed on the representation of queer bodies and call for representations of queerness that exceed the body. The text argues that images of the sexed body – and of the male body especially – are nevertheless still extremely naturalized. It is therefore necessary to analyze the technologies and practices through which male bodies are produced. A reading of the Tranz Portraits, when informed by feminist art criticisms, shows how the photographs explore visual norms of sexed and gendered bodies and expose their rootedness in the cultural conventions of representation and modes of looking. By doing so, they contradict ideologies of essentialist masculinity and also shift the meaning of the term Trans, since they represent their protagonists not in the dominant pathologized way (as “trapped in the wrong body”), but rather as positioned precariously, troubled by the surrounding world and its contradictions.